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Full Circle: RPG Maker 2000 Returns

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the increasing role of nostalgia in popular culture. Well, there isn’t much that gets me more nostalgic than RPG Maker 2000, which has finally gotten its first official English translation and release. It’s had something of a staggered rollout. It’s been unintentionally exclusive to the Humble Store (a 90% off coupon has been included in the Humble Game Making Bundle) but will be coming to Steam eventually. When RPG Maker 2003 came out, I relied on the words of others to explain its merits since I had no experience with it personally. The reason for this was that I was still far too engrossed in its predecessor and would be for some time.

I was first introduced to RPG Maker 2000 in my junior year of high school by another contributor to this very website. Up until that point, my creative expression mostly comprised writing novellas and drawing comics about stick figures. This was so much more awesome. Not only were you planning out stories and writing dialogue for your characters, you could design all the locations, control all of the lighting, choreograph the action and pick the music. It was like directing a movie!

I also miss the days of lower expectations for mapping…

The program was very easy to learn. Within minutes, I knew how to stage a simple scene. The more complex elements of the engine, such as variables or the big wide world of conditional branches, took more practice. Not that a lack of practice was any hindrance. I cranked out a 4 hour game over the course of one summer. It was terrible but it was a great experience. I kept working with it for years afterwards and my final RM2k project was a huge 30 hour game that took me 4 years to finish.

15 years later, it’s amazing how well it holds up. There have been plenty more engines with more features and more customization options but RPG Maker 2000 is still a fantastic user-friendly tool. It’s brought a lot of joy and accomplishment into my life; I don’t think I’d even have my current job if not for my experiences with it. Needless to say, it’s worth checking out.

Has anyone else used this engine? If not, what was the tool that first got you into game development? Let’s go down memory lane!

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