A Closer Look At The Games of RPG Maker 2000/2003
Created in Japan by ASCII and Enterbrain, and the personal computer version translated by Russian developer Don Miguel, “RPG Maker 2000″ is a program originally made to use it’s combined database of systems, sprite-sets, music tracks and more to develop a role-playing game. For the PC version, the user is capable of using Paint and the mapbuilder to create new spirte-sets, maps, battle system animations, and even more to create your own style of game. It was released in early 1995 to a English-speaking public, and sparking the flames of a large community spread over the world. Originally seen in French and German sites, the English translation hung around for some time until forums started to pop up, positioning itself as a basic means to create role-playing games. Nowadays, that is still true, but has become more than that through innovative designers, custom work, and a penchant to see a specific system make platformers.
For a long time, the independent gaming community seemed to glide right over the system despite well-developed material, due to the multitude of other systems at the time like Macromedia Game Maker, or Flash, which had overwhelmed the shareware, and eventually online gaming, scene for quite some time. The inner communities, however, flourished; in ongoing sites like RPGMaker.net and Gamingw.net, the forums were alive with new games and game development, relatively unnoticed until recently. A game known as “Barkley: Shut Up and Jam Gaiden,” a parody based off the multitude of 1990s basketball/fighting videogames like “Shaq Fu” and “canon” movies like Space Jam, which garnered major attention in the overall community for it’s innovative battle system, use of quicktime events - never before seen in the system - and a well-made, if not strange story. Nowadays, most of these games can be found on the main websites and through the forums in those sites. I’ll point out some of the noteworthy ones.
1: “The Way” Series
Written by designer Lun, this six-episode story follows the journey of Rhue of the Landorin Stretch, trying to find something he has lost. With the innovative feature of bringing a characters’ stats over from previous chapters with progressively more and more development of Rhue and other people on his journey, the player find this world has many secrets to tell, and darker forces around him clash for power. This series of games are well-known for a heavy shade of Grey, and a suspenseful storyline which reveals more questions than answers as it goes along.
2: “A Blurred Line”
Conceptualized and designed by Lysander86, “A Blurred Line” takes place in a futuristic world where tyranny and chaos run amok in the streets. An ordinary man, on a simple job, gets pulled into a fight for survival when mysterious powers come into play from within him. One of the first games made for “RM2k” which used custom menus and battle systems, this game is also well-renowned for being one of the first games that is within a dark, bloody setting since it’s release.
3: “Romancing Walker”
Translated from Japanese, this game is also well-known due to one specific thing; character development. You play as a generic main character in a clichéd storyline….surrounded by women. Yes indeed, you’re playing a harem anime/adventure to save the world with conditional combat situations, a whole game filled with humorous choices and storylines, and multiple endings. Good-natured, but a little dialogue-buggy, this game is a keeper.
4: “Love and War – Act 1″
This relatively new game by Admiral Styles, and the collaboration of mappers and composers, this game has gained a measure of popularity and has some excellent writing for an up-and-coming designer. You follow two characters – Ryan Eramond and Lavie Regale – through their eventual lives in a world of political strife and growing tension. An series coming up through development in several acts, this game and the games to come have a great deal of potential.