Those good times are coming back. For the '90s and most of 00's, home computers got harder to program and universities used C/C++ to introduce programming, which meant novices were faced with a steep learning curve and got to write code that produced, say, and ASCII histogram of some random numbers. Now, there's a trend towards Python, Java, and other languages with simple, powerful library sets built in so that students can write easy programs that do interesting things - in particular graphics and/or games.
I think it's kind of a waste of time to "de-emphasize" programming, though - the more coding you do the better you get. But that doesn't mean you're wasting your time if you code in some very high level game description language. As long as you're being required to handle abstract concepts and explicitly describe what you mean, you're learning how to program.