Well okay, not real video games. RPGMaker games. But hey, gotta start somewhere right?
I’ve been asked to join the team over at rpgmaker.net. My two official duties are to write game design articles (a subject I can quite literally speak on endlessly) and to review the site’s featured game. These are services I used to provide before I threw my hands up at the RPGMaker community and went to hide in a hole, albeit in an unofficial capacity. So going back to them is really no big deal.
And honestly I’m not sure anyone really knows what “official” and “unofficial” means in this context anyway. But that’s not what this post is going to be about: this post is going to be about rpgmaker.net and how it’s grown over the past two years.
The reason I eventually got fed up and bailed on the RM community was because that community was a shithole. Actually I’m pretty sure calling it that is an insult to shitholes everywhere. I could write a book about the unending contempt I had for the biggest RM site and the people who ran it, but why bother? It was the kind of site that attracted legions upon legions of trolls while people with actual creativity and talent (you know, the kinds of people a game making community should be built on) were driven away. These people would go off on their own to try and form their own little communities, but they would inevitably shrivel and die.
When I think of how many awesome indie RPGs we’ll never get to see because their designers were scared away during their developmental stage by some kid who responded to their inquiries with a picture of a cartoon dong…
Anyway, RMN was supposed to be different. For one they had an actual respectable domain. For another the people who were heading it up weren’t completely oblivious douchenozzles. The problem they faced in 2007 was luring the good folks away from GamingShithole.com while also trying to consolidate some of the smaller outlying communities. The formerwas difficult because the people who were actually making worthwhile stuff wanted an audience for their projects, and this new upstart RM site didn’t have any users yet. The prevailing attitude was that an audience comprised of poo-flinging chimps was better than no audience at all. The latter problem was perhaps tougher: all the little guys had been burned by a Big RM Site before; why expect this one to be different?
And for a while, it wasn’t. I wrote a bunch of design articles and game reviews and was as active as you can be on a forum with a dozen or so registered users, but it was frustrating. At this point I had been pissing into the void for something like four years trying to find some semblance of a respectable community to cling to, but it just wasn’t happening. I gave up.
Well, the rest of RMN didn’t give up. The site has hundreds of games available now. The help forum is completely free of cartoon dongs. They’ve managed to put together podcasts and newsletters. The front page of the site is structured in such a way that every game gets equal exposure. The oldbies don’t bully the newbies so badly they quit and leave. They’ve managed to complete community chain games, a feat no RM community has ever achieved in the history of time, ever.
It’s not my ideal RM site, but it’s as close as I think reality has room for. So now, two years after throwing my hands up, I’m pleased to be involved with it again.