I made a peculiar purchase today. I am not typically one to dive in for impulse buying, but I have had a bug in me ever since I played Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim about a year ago. I must admit that by the end of the first decade of this dark century of ours I had completely lost faith in video games. In Blizzard I trust, but the dynamics of an MMORPG are enormously time-consuming as a rule, and in the realm of the single-player there simply weren’t many good options for a long, long time. Suikoden V in 2006 was a breath of fresh air, but as Konami put the nix to the series shortly thereafter I abandoned gaming beyond the Blizzard monolith entirely. It took six years for another game to catch my eye. What I realized while playing Skyrim, aside from the fact that really awesome RPG/adventure games with compelling plots and memorable soundtracks do still exist, is that I am entirely out of touch with gaming in general as it exists today.
I really don’t know what is popular now. I am completely clueless. But I have a sneaking suspicion that what I purchased today is not among your common, mass-marketed fair.
I bought RPG Maker VX Ace. I didn’t plan to. I just stumbled upon it, was shocked that it still exists, and clicked buy. I had last used RPG Maker software at some point back in the 90s, when ASCII was still making it and the best you could do was a fan-translated hack. (Enterbrain makes it now, and I rather doubt companies would still view freely distributed fan hacks as innocent endeavors.) The Dragon Quest JRPG-inspired format of VX Ace, just released in March 2012, might be considered retro at this point, but I have to wonder whether there might not be a serious market demand for that. Wouldn’t it be nice to see some games which, necessarily limited in graphics and sound, had to rely on a compelling plot to the degree of a Final Fantasy VI or a Chrono Trigger? I certainly think so. Not that I possess the capacity to make any myself, but I am beginning to see a vision for my 2013 hobby unfolding: Last year I investigated the history of video game music up until about 1994. If VX Ace holds my interest at least long enough for me to get my $70 worth out of it, I might spend this year looking into the world of indie gaming. If nothing else, I’ll at least make a post or two in the near future showing off my new toy.