There's a couple of basic problems the submitter and his circle of friends have here that makes it appear that it's not as cool or fun anymore. The first is that they're old enough to start seeing things that are different from how they were in their childhoods as not as good. The second is that they're looking at the designed to be idiot-proof mass market and expecting to see DIY where you can get your hands dirty messing with the inner workings of things.
Games being tied to DRM is an issue, but it can be avoided. It does mean giving up certain games, but that's the reality. If you're a vegetarian, it means living with not eating that steak you'd really like. Otherwise, most of the "basic freedoms" are still there. Use Linux (or BSD, if you prefer) and you can tinker with your software setup to your heart's content. Sure, you don't get these specific de facto standard software suites, but there's by and large a way to do what they do.
The problem that does exist is that everything's more complex, but that doesn't necessarily make things less fun. There's a ton of cool shit that you can do that was simply not possible back then, because you don't have to re-invent the wheel at the lower levels to do anything. If you do want to screw around at that kind of lower level, there are things you can get to do that with, but it's unrealistic to still expect to be able to do that with the same kind of personal computer that everyone else uses to do other stuff with.