Flashes really haven't evolved too much from the film days
I guess that depends on your age and perspective. In my time I've seen flashes evolve much more than cameras.
I'm not discounting the changes that digital cameras have brought, but the basics of how it all works haven't changed that much. We're recording on memory cards instead of film and we're getting instant feedback and more control, but from my perspective, that all pales in comparison to what I can do with strobes today.
Try shooting any event with a potato masher strobe when you have to estimate distances, calculate a guide number, wait forever for recycle time, keep from accidentally moving the shutter speed dial above 1/60th of a second, hope that the batteries last at least through the first quarter of the event and pray that the worthless little cord connecting the camera to the strobe is still working an hour after you've checked it out and packed up for the assignment (hint: it probably won't be working). Forget about syncing more than one unit or doing anything else remotely creative with a strobe, unless you spend hundreds or even thousands more on slaves, flash meters, Polaroid backs, etc. etc. And, of course, you really won't know if it all worked until it's too late, when you develop the film.
I can't believe how fantastic today's strobes are. The fact that for less than the cost of a moderately priced "L" lens, I can buy a setup that lets me trigger multiple strobes and, through the camera, adjust the output levels, balance ambient light with the strobes and never once have to guess how many feet or meters I am from the subject makes me a very happy camper.