Loads of things have changed in the time and ive seen graphics change from memory hacks to more refined graphics platforms and API's, for me the best days of computers were ~1994 when graphics were really good and programming behind it pushed the machine to the limits. By todays standards computer programming today is more operating system specific if the OS doesnt like it you cant do it but back then with DOS you could do anything, if you wanted to you could get 1.88Mb (or even 2Mb) from a special formatter for 1.44Mb disks. That was the time I wrote my first graphics engine using ram hacks to put the graphics into the video ram fast enough assembly was the only thing fast enough.
Another thing that has changed due to sloppy coding is memory requirements, back in the day we had 256Kb thats 262144bytes of ram if you were lucky you had 640Kb or ram to play with, by todays standards it would be less than one percent of total ram on todays 3Gb and 4Gb monsters but we did it. Yes I still program games as if I still had 640kb of ram as a game that uses the least ram runs the best and is the most efficient and there is nothing I cannot do in 1Mb ram that todays games cant do with 4Gb as playability is everything.
OpenGL is the nearest thing I see today that give me that 'programming buzz', who knows there might be a platform out there that does allow it but I have yet to find it.