Why do people hate RPG Maker games? 

 April 15, 2019

By  kokororeflections

“Why do people hate RPG Maker games?”

You’ve probably seen it somewhere. Somebody hating on RPG Maker games just because they were designed with a certain engine. You can find it with other engines too, like Unity for example.

Maybe someone’s even said something to you about it.

Is it really fair?

Why people hate RPG Maker games…

There are a few arguments to be made about RPG Maker games that at least deserve fair attention.

1. It’s entry level.

Let’s be honest. Anyone can…and does…get started with RPG Maker. It’s what you reach for when Unreal looks…well, unrealistic. As a result, you have a lot of kids churning out games when they’re not really ready for prime-time. The internet is cluttered with clones of other games, games that are poorly put-together, games that were…um, designed in MS Paint. So, in short, it’s an abused engine of people who lack the ability to reach for more complicated engines.

2. The games are poorly designed.

Continuing the above point, I don’t think anyone could argue that many, many RPG Maker games were not as well-thought-out as they could be. They suffer from major balance issues, plots that don’t make sense, graphics that are poor quality and battle systems that are laborious and…a little boring.

3. RTP Graphics

Oh come on, haven’t we seen these graphics before? In about a billion different games?

(Let’s be nice though, we’ll hurt Harold’s feelings. He likes being a hero.)

4. Limited Engine

I mean, all you can do is walk around and fire off a few simple events. There’s no real power in it…right? Seriously, it doesn’t even support pixel-based movements. 3 frames for walking animations? SO limited.

Here’s the thing.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

And all of the above can change depending on your perspective.

1. It’s entry level.

Heck yeah it’s entry level! That means accessibility. People who don’t have the ability to learn high-powered languages and difficult software can in fact create a good game. And it may not even be that they lack the ability, but simply don’t want to reinvent the wheel! Why waste tons of time making simple components for your game that RPG Maker already automates? That doesn’t make sense for many people.

Just because some people have abused it doesn’t invalidate it as software. It only means some people are too lazy or unwilling to use it to its full potential.

2. The games are poorly designed.

First of all, this is partially a subjective statement. That’s something everyone needs to realize. There are some games that are immensely popular that, well, I just don’t like and don’t think they’re well-done! And you’re welcome to disagree with me on what games are actually “good.”

But not everything about games is entirely subjective. There is such a thing as a bad decision. But bad decisions are the product of lack of experience, not software.

3. RTP Graphics

Last I checked, the RTP graphics can be changed out to be basically anything you want. Don’t like the default tiles? Draw your own. Don’t want to be locked to a 48px grid? Use a parallax locking script and paint whatever you like. Don’t like the menus? Hire someone to throw something together in Javascript…or grab a copy of Moghunter’s menus and have fun editing them. (Complicated, but a learning experience. 🙂 )

If you use the default graphics, yes, it will look default. There is, however, plenty of provision to change things up. It’s strictly a matter of budget, time, and desire.

4. Limited Engine

There are two ways of looking at this.

First of all, plugins make the engine very extensible. Whatever you’re capable of programming in Javascript (or hiring someone else to program) you can have. And if you’re interested in making your game in the standard old-school RPG style, again, what’s the point in reinventing the wheel? Add in the extra features you want.

Second, do you need the extra functionality provided by more powerful engines? If you’re making exactly the kind of game that RPG Maker is designed for, is it necessary to use a higher-powered tool? In this case, limitations aren’t necessarily frustrating.

The bottom line

Here’s the thing. People can hate small game engines all they like, but at the end of the day, you can make bad games with ANY engine. Not just RPG Maker or any free engine you might find out there. You can also make GOOD games with mostly any engine.

People are naturally biased. That can’t be helped. But if a person is being really fair, games should be taken on their own merits. They’re more than the sum of the engine they were made in. The time to change is when the game no longer fits the engine it was made in.

But if it does fit, the engine is merely a tool. Hammers drive nails. Screwdrivers are for screws. RPG Maker is for old-school RPGs. To ask it to be more is to be completely unrealistic about your expectations, and to judge a game for being made in the tool that suits it is to be unfair.

It’s all a matter of what you do with it.

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