Everyone today thinks pixelart is blocky aliased pixel shit, or even worse, isometric aliased stuff like eBoy. These people would consider any antialiasing, even if done by hand, a travesty. I direct this people to work by guys like Made and Cyclone and tell them to stfu.
Reality is, back then, you only had these "pixel tools" to do your jobs. "Pixelart" was not an election, an option, it's what people had, and they had to make the most out of it. Of course they used tools and not did it pixel by fucking pixel, it's retarded to think they did this, time-consumingly ignorant. most active demoscene pixellers had to meet deadlines for prods, so stupidity like pushing by hand each pixel on a 320x256 screen was possibly out of the question.
If someone wanted to do it, great! But that doesn't make it better or worse.
Judge the end product