Bruce Sterling's Islands in the Net, a seminal work of cyberpunk, made the point that video games that become harder and harder until you eventually succumb was a keenly Cold War mentality about entertainment. The nihilism of struggling against antagonists until they beat you was held up as a symptom of the core belief that eventually we'd all get nuked anyway. It actually plays into the core plot of the story, which is fundamentally about the uneasy border between optimism and pessimism in futurism.
It was written in '88. It's about Zaibatsus and terrorism and killer drones and rastafarians, as most of them were. It was "near future" back then; it's now "alternate future." I reckon it's aged a lot better than the Walter Jon Williams stuff but it hasn't proven to be nearly as seminal as William Gibson.
we're a bit on the tail end of it... but yah... that rings true.
This was an '88 perspective on '81 and '82. Legend of Zelda had been out for two years by then; people were clearly expecting more from video games already. The Berlin Wall was a year from falling. I would say it was a fairly insightful viewpoint for the time.
the tail end... I think I meant you and I are old enough that we were on the tail end of the cold war... if you're like me, you played "guns" as a kid and ran around shooting each other, but only after deciding who would be "the Ruskies".
We had two books that had full color layouts comparing the US arsenal to the USSR's (one might have been the encyclopedia?). I would lay there for hours looking at those pictures. crazy times to be sure.