@fribbledom No, I think it's not that simple. I think that current devs are not the equal of their intellectual forebearers.
Previous generations of devs had to work miracles in highly constrained environments, often working very hard to optimize their code effectively. In the era of "cheap' CPU and RAM, nearly everyone has forgotten the art of optimization.
Seriously, go ask a modern dev to describe the functionality of a specific CPU register of your choice and see what he says.