Have you ever wanted to create your own role-playing game (RPG)? Do you have a story that has been burning in the back of your mind for 30 years that has been waiting for the opportunity to be given some way to become reality? Maybe you’re one of those people who wants to create an adventure for others that models your life. Perhaps you’re completely disillusioned by the pathetic excuses for RPGs that have come out since the creation of Zork or since you could read. Whatever your reasons for wanting to tell a story through the broad canvas that video games can offer, there is now a tool available to you on your Nintendo Switch.
RPG Maker MV does so that it’s extremely overwhelming after you finish the tutorial upon first boot up. They give you the foundation upon which to build your story, your adventure, your Magnum Opus. When I say overwhelming, I mean that you are staring at this canvas that has been digitally laid out before you and suddenly your mind goes blank. Where do you begin? No, where does my character begin? For that matter, who is my character or group of characters? Who do these people interact with? What does their world look like? When or where in the great universe will this take place? All this can overload your own circuits, but can be handled by this tool your budding game author has been waiting for. Not only that, but it’s portable so you can work on it wherever you are, whenever you want, and even while your family takes you on an annoying camping trip outdoors. Grandpa wants to take you fishing, but you hate that with every fiber of your being? Take your Switch, have a conversation with your G-pops and sculpt a landscape similar to the one surrounding you. Inspiration can hit you anywhere and now you don’t need to wait to get home to hope you can remember all that spurred your imagination.
If it can happen to me, it can happen to you. Driving long distances has even given me ideas and caused me to pull over to the side of the road (safely, of course) to see if I could do something like that in RPG Maker MV. Just the art sets for what type of world you want to create is immense. You want fantasy, modern, steampunk… there are options available and you can mix and match as you see fit. There is no reason to stick with a certain art style if you don’t want to. That’s the beauty of a tool that allows you to create until your heart is content… or broken I suppose. Heart broken by a tragic event in your life? Make it a game! Put others through your pain and skip the therapy sessions. On second thought, go to your therapy sessions but use the tool as an outlet for your frustration or the newfound inner peace you’ve attained. The point is, you can set your evil step mother, wicked ex-whatever, or loving god-thing you imagine in pretty much any setting you can think of.
Then we turn to character creation. Remember early on when I said overwhelming? You can create hundreds of characters with more variations than your players would want to encounter during a typical 40 hour gaming adventure. If you can think it, there is a way for it to become reality for your users. Wait… users? Yes, now that you’re a game designer, you can now call your players and customers “users” just like drug dealers and IT professionals. Think about it, you know it’s true.
You’re thinking to yourself, because I have harped on music in every review I write, what if Jay from Nintendo Times plays my game? Will he criticize my pathetic audible library I’ve chosen or will he be lulled into submission by my artistic prowess of choosing the right type of music for each situation? The power is in your hands, Padowan. A library of music is available for you to add emotion, set the scene, or drive your players bonkers should the need arise. I can’t emphasize enough how useful it is to play any music they offer while you work. If the music playing inspired me to add more and more to the layout I was trying, it was the score I chose for that scene. If it just stifled my creativity or drove me nuts, it was filed away for another situation that could come up during my story creation process.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when you start working with RPG Maker MV. However, one thing was bugging me when I first started playing around with this tool, getting my bearings if you will. What if I’m not creative enough to put this to use? What if, to the best of my ability I just can’t seem to get started and I just fizzle out? Okay, so this isn’t an invented scenario, I really did feel this way. Let me put it to you this way. I have had a hobby for over two decades (that’s 20 years Padowan) of working with images and video editing. What did I start out doing? Using Microsoft Paint and a mouse and trying to draw something from scratch with a mouse. This didn’t cut it. I moved on to Photoshop. The name so engrained in our consciousness that we actually use it as a verb when we suspect an image may have been digitally manipulated like when we Google a question we came up with. It’s always much easier to create something from something that already exists than it is to throw paint at your own canvas and expect the Mona Lisa to appear. Your first attempt may need a boost. Go online to check out other creator’s games, play an old RPG on the very Switch in your hands. For every moment you ever said, “This game would’ve been better if only…,” this is your opportunity to make it right… uh… without plagiarizing.
Finally, you may be worried that your creation can’t be played by your friends, family, or favorite Nintendo Times game critic. Worry not, Jedi, if you actually did something that I have not yet been able to do as of the time of this writing and release an actual idea come to fruition, submit your creation to the servers and tell your friends to download the free player via the eShop and how to find your game to get their opinions or to play test for you.
So you see, the only thing that holds you back from making the greatest RPG story of all time is really your imagination, dedication, and inspiration. Well, that and some of those moments when the application, and yes, this is Photoshop for RPG creators so it’s an application, seems to take a while to load stuff and things for you. As an actual professional software developer please… please… just be patient. The limitations of the hardware aside, it takes a few seconds to process the amount of code written in the background that you would know about if you started to create your own RPG game without software like this. In short, this application is incredible and the amount you can do with it is just as incredible. I also can’t score this like a game. It’s not a game, it’s a tool for getting your ideas into the hands of gamers.
One more thing — if you have grandiose plans for an RPG and you just aren’t sure that the Switch version will cut it for you and you have a PC, check out RPG Maker MV‘s web site because if what I’ve described to you doesn’t sound like enough, see what possibilities are there including, but not limited to, actually monetizing your creation.
RPG Maker MV Review
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 10/1010/10
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
Being able to create your own RPG on the Switch for other players is absolutely in a league of its own with nothing else coming close to this kind of exposure or amount of tools available to realize your dream of becoming a game designer, writer, and developer. The advantages of taking the Switch everywhere you go and “code” at a moment’s notice is a game changer.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.