I know he was probably speaking off-the-cuff and probably didn't have the opportunity to fact-check, and they're indeed a minor point, but the specs he quoted are wrong:
* The CPU speed was 21.5 MHz (21.3 on PAL), not 2.58, so it was actually ten times as fast as he gave it credit for. The speed he quoted is more in line with the NES, which ran at 1.79 MHz (1.66 on PAL). (EDIT:
Wrong. See the following two posts. While he still quoted the wrong speed, it wasn't far off the mark.)
* SNES actually has 128 KB of RAM (plus 64 KB of video RAM).
I'm sure the broad points of what he says are accurate, though, 'cause I've imagined what I'd be doing if I were working in a game dev shop back in the day and that's pretty much how I pictured it, and I bet there was a lot of reverse-engineering of those tricks once they got their hands on the games (though I'm sure they were hush-hush about it because you're not supposed to be doing it).
I'm glad game programming has evolved beyond arcane tricks, though. They're neat to learn about and study, but their necessity was no good for the industry, and had a lot to do with why a lot of old games were crap (think LJN and TH*Q here). Back when id made Doom, it was holy shit, how did they do that?!
. Now any kid can make a Doom clone with graphics that eat the original game's graphics for breakfast. (It still takes time and effort, as with making any complete game, but it doesn't require a fraction of the skills John Carmack had.) A lot of people think that's a shame, and I see where they're coming from, but let's look at the big picture here: who are game designers and what are games? Game designers are artists, and games are their art. The ease of modern game programming closes the gap between the artist and his art. That's a very good thing.
It all started when I was young and asked my Dad how clocks worked. I need to know how everything works now. I spend much time just learning how things work from my electronics to refrigerators to cars. I must know! It's never ending learning!
Truly the mark of a brilliant engineer. You might make something big one day...