I love RPGs, anything with an amazing story that will grab me I’m glad to sit down and play through. One big problem with RPGs though is that there seems to be far too much time in between the great ones, that or if you’re like me you’re too poor at sometimes to buy all the ones you want. That was especially true for me when I just got out of High School. Fortunately I happened to find the RPG Maker Community back then. At the time it was not quite like it is now, RPG Maker games were all made using programs that had been translated to English and thus 90% of the time not legal to sell even if the developers had not primarily reused sprites /music from other games.
That said, the things that some of these people did with their games were just positively amazing. Anyone who has played any of the old RPG Maker Games is familiar with “A Blurred Line” and the sequel “A Line’s End” that will likely never see the light of day. There are a number of other greats from those years that I could mention, but that’s not the purpose of this article. Eventually, about the time of the release of RPG Maker XP, Enterbrain realized they had a vast untapped market in the West. So they translated the software officially and made it available over here. Now people outside of Japan could create their own games in RPG Maker and actually sell them commercially.
Now, over the years the community has grown, and as communities grow they start to become more visible. To the point that you even start to see RPG Maker games on Steam. That’s right, now we’re coming around to the point of the article. All the hate on RPG Maker games. Why does everyone hate them? Most of the time when you see someone bashing an RPG Maker game, they’ve never actually even played the game itself. Often they have not even looked at the screenshots or the videos, they simply bash it exclusively for its connection to RPG Maker.
The reasons I’ve come across vary, but mostly it comes around to people thinking that RPG Maker is the “easy and lazy” way to make games. That the developers don’t have to put any time, passion, or work into making the games. Those people are so very wrong. Are there RPG Maker games out there that were released simply for the chance to make a little money? Sure, but honestly they’re the minority, not the majority. RPG Maker is an Engine, just like any other. It’s the same as Unreal or Unity, it’s just geared toward creating two-dimensional RPGs.
The most recent version of RPG Maker, RPG Maker VX Ace actually has rather in-depth scripting capabilities using Ruby, although technically Ruby has been in it since XP. If you go into the Engine and start looking at the scripts the sheer amount of things you can change and add is overwhelming. Just start browsing around the community, oh and yes there’s a HUGE community. The RPG Maker Community is more helpful and available I’d say than any of the communities for any other Engine out there that I’ve seen.
You have people who have created custom battler scripts, custom characters, maps, all sorts of things. Sometimes they just give it away to anyone who wants it, but it also offers them an opportunity to market their skills if they so choose. People can buy these things from others or even hire them on and work together to develop games. There are a number of amazing games in the works, and yes some of them are being sold commercially, but most of the people who make RPG Maker games are not making a living off of it. They’ve just found a way where they can tell this story that they had inside of them.
A way that they can share their world, their game, their characters with other people. Is it worth giving them a little money for the insane amounts of work they put into it? You better believe it is. They spend just as many hours, months, and years in some cases developing the games as any other developer does. They’re Indie Developers, just because the graphics might look a little old-school, don’t let that fool you. Most of the games have demos or videos available, take a look at it and immerse yourself in the game. You’ll see the passion the developers have for their games and you’ll see why you shouldn’t hate RPG Maker games, you should embrace them.