Hell, even moving foward - in the 90s using DOS - you had to be somewhat computer literate to get anything to run well (esp games those days which bundled their own hw drivers, etc). HIMEM.SYS, different system boot files per application, etc.
In some ways things are much better now... in some ways they are far far inferior.
This mini-dichotomy reminds me of Rich Hickey's "Simple and Easy" talk.
Much in favor of more Alan Kay, Bret Victor, Doug Engelbart type ideas coming to market as opposed to being "locked" (somewhat) in academia.