Computers were $200, and booted straight into a development environment, and came with sufficient printed documentation to actually learn that language.
At that time, the budget for low budget commercial games was 1-3 man-months of effort, very much within the reach of amateurs.
There also existed a good market for amateur productions -- things like the "disk of the month" clubs.
I was able to produce a game in a weekend, and sell it for one to two hundred dollars. If you factor in inflation, that's a pretty good wage for someone who's just learning and playing around.
The market for cheap, easy to make games dried up in the 90s. Even successful shareware games required a level of polish, effort and knowledge out of reach of most 14 year olds.
I'm really happy to see that 14 year olds can once again have experiences similar to mine. I hope it lasts, but it does appear that mobile development is shifting to the more standard "winner takes all" marketplace.
I did do some cool stuff in HyperTalk though.