After reading the story, this sounds like a sure-fire "Outliers" scenario. The Adams brothers lived near Cape Canaveral. Richard constructed a video camera as an adolescent, before building a custom 16-bit computer from scratch, when all of the kits were strictly 8-bit. Richard, Scott, and Eric programmed the system initially from front panel switches, until Richard build a keyboard, based on existing designs. Just as Bill Gates created Altair BASIC at what was most likely the earliest possible moment, so with the Adams brothers getting their start.
It would be interesting to know what the family, school, and social background that gave them the shot at such an early entre into digital hacking.
Our Dad was a general manager of a private Aviations firm, Also sorts of neat tools and stuff in the garage and we got electronic kits in 1st and second grade to play with. Our Mom got her PHd in education when we were teens and was very actively involved in all our schooling. She never accepted anything but top notch work. For punishment we would be told we could not read books for awhile and had to do something else. When I went to highschool at N. Miami Senior high they tried an experiment and put a computer terminal in the math lab for anyone to use. It hooked up to a mainframe at U of M and I was hooked! I changed my career choice to CS from medicine and never looked back. The one toy I always wanted as a kid was my own computer! I remember learning binary in 6th grade and thinking it was pretty cool.
Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.