Does it seem to you that the word "quest" is a dirty one in the minds of some OSR folks? I've read blog posts over the last year or so that have poo-pooed the quest (but don't ask me to point out specific posts where I've read this...I know I should probably be backing up my statements with facts, but there you go). I wonder if these folks connect quests to the cardinal sins of railroading and the dreaded "story-based" campaign.
I'm here to tell you that the quest need not be a dirty word! It's all in how you approach the definition of the word, as well as the execution in a campaign. In a roleplaying game, every quest need not be a matter of life and death for the whole of existence.
Now, I would agree with you if you were interpreting the word to mean the hackneyed hooks where a merry band of adventurers must rescue a princess, find a magical artifact that will defeat a "dark lord," etc.
Why not consider even a standard dungeon crawl as a quest, even if said crawl is purely for the player's financial gain? Why does a quest need to be a noble pursuit? I know there's a traditional connotation that a quest is motivated by some pure ideal or intent, but I'm here to tell you that it need not be so!
To me, just using the word "quest" can spice up game night. Quest evokes more mood, rather than calling the players' efforts "missions" or some such.
So, what do you think? What place do quests have in your campaign? What do you consider the word to mean in the context of your games?