The first time I picked up an RPG Maker product I was 15 and I’d been given a PSX game as a Christmas present. I’d always loved RPGs and fantasy books so when I first realised just what I’d gotten for Christmas I was extremely excited.
I spent hours writing up my game in a journal - details about the characters, how they’d interact, the points of the plot and even sketches of maps - then tried to fit it all in a game. After a while I had two memory cards full of game and I hadn’t even scratched the surface.
Then I got the internet and found there links to another product of the same line - RPG Maker 2000. I fell instantly in love, though at that time I never realised that using it was wrong. No, that came after.
I played and made and spent so much time creating worlds and characters, perfecting my mapping skills and learning how to ‘code’ and event. I remember the first time I really understood how to use a variable (it took me well over a year to figure that out) and just how flexible they were. I made minigames and many RPGs in that beloved program, and while others moved up to RPG Maker 2003, I stayed faithful to my RM2K.
Then came a competition on a site I’d only recently joined. Said competition asked that RM2K3 be used and I decided that I was going to go for it and try to win the prize (I think it was money, though I can’t remember now). So I downloaded 2k3, knowing, this time, that it was wrong. I still did it, though, and though I looked back at times, longingly to my poor neglected 2K, I persisted with 2k3 far beyond when others had jumped on to newer makers.
Don’t get me wrong, I tried XP. It was alright, but my new computer didn’t like it too much and I already knew how to break limits (without plugins, thank you very much) in 2K3 so saw no need to update.
Out came VX and I looked at it for a while, downloading a copy (naughty!) and trying to make some games with it. It was pretty good, and there was a lot that could be done with the scripting feature, but it didn’t really capture my fancy, though I loved the RTP. (Some way down the road, among certain communities I became known as something of an RTP whiz, even garnering the nickname RTP Princess).
One day a friend of mine asked me to help her with mapping on a project. I was happy to comply. However I realised that I’d need VXA to do so… and finally took the plunge. I deleted my illegal VX and XP (though I couldn’t bring myself to do so to 2k and 2k3) and bought RPG Maker VX Ace. Paid in full and legally owned!
A while passed and I looked back on my years using RM products. Nostalgia visited me that day and I pondered with said friend about the chance of a legal version of 2k3 coming out. Thus, a petition was born to ask for an English copy of RM2K3 to be released. I posted all over the internet, in communities I never knew existed, spreading the word.
Sadly, we’re barely over halfway there number-wise (though it still gets a few signatures each week) and it will probably take a long time before it ever reaches the required 1000, but I felt like I was doing something to make up for all the illegality of my earlier years of RMing, trying to make it right in some way.
This year has seen me make a lot of graphic edits for free use, a lot of maps for my own and others’ use and trying to be a bigger part of the community as a whole. I think back to my first time looking at the disc in my hand on a hot Christmas morning and wonder if I should have chosen not to try my hand at that game, but you know what? I regret nothing. I’m glad I picked up RMing as a hobby, that I spent so many hours honing my abilities in the program, helped others learn the ins and outs of it, and showed people that RTP doesn’t have to be considered ugly and unusable.
Because without it I would never have gone from this:
Would I have found as many like-minded friends as I have without the RM series? I don’t know, but with them I did.
So thank you, Enterbrain, Dejica, for all the hours of fun and the great community built on and around your programs. Even if they weren’t strictly legal at times, they will always remain a large part of my life and I’m thankful for that.