That's an odd comparison on several levels.
First of all, the 80s were full on one-man dev teams, like Mike Smith (the Miner Willy games), Andrew Braybrook (although he was part of a software house, most of his genius games were solo coded) or Jeff Minter. With 16, 48 or 64k to play with, it was pretty easy for one person to fill all the memory in a few weeks' work.
But Mike Singleton... well, he did some clever maths-based programming to make games that most people wouldn't have thought possible -- even now part of me wants to believe that Lords of Midnight on a 48k spectrum is just a Mandela effect.
We're now living in an era where technological marvels are beyond the reach of the sole coder, and what indies like Pope are doing is finding ways to use what's already there efficiently to build compelling story-driven games without having to worry about the tech.
OK, so Pope did have to write a custom shader to get the "dithering" effect for monochrome shading, so it was far from a totally non-technical project, but the comparison just seems weird to me.