WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE BEST YEAR/ERA FOR RPG MAKER?

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This topic is inspired by a post Kentona made in Ocean's 10 year anniversary blog post for Paradise Blue:

https://rpgmaker.net/games/251/blog/21888/#posts

Kentona stated facetiously that 2009 was the best year for RM. In context, this was more of a joke than a serious statement (he was referencing the fact that both Paradise Blue and his own game came out this year), but this got me thinking. What actually was the best year for RPG Maker?

I know this may be a difficult question to answer, because it's not always easy to remember the year that certain games were released. Because of this, feel free to mention a particular era or time period instead.
I'm gonna do the standard pre-RMN take and say 2005. It was around when Arafell was coming out and although it isn't the best RM game it did mark a change in the direction of RM games in that it felt like more and more people were trying to be RPG Indies and do their own thing. It's hard to explain what that actually entails though, because RM2K's prime era 2000-2003 had its moments.

The reasons for starting RM Historia (plug plug) was so I could answer that question from a birds eye view and get some kind of mental timeline down on how creatives converged or diverged. So maybe I'll come up with a better answer in terms of raw games/creative input eventually.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
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I've only been around since 2014. That was a big year because of IGMC and we're still benefiting from its harvest (Cope Island), but the hits of the year (Remnants of Isolation, Oneshot and Last Word) were overshadowed with more recent releases. They all still expecting sts as great examples of design too. There's one thing I dislike about 2014. It changed the hobbyist nature of RM with it being a first year of major commercial RM releases.
I think 2009 might have been the best year for RM. So many hits were released and many more were in production and released in 2010. It was the peak year for many devs too.
kory_toombs
I won the RMN 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff Pool. Now I will never stop bragging about it.
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Including, and everything after RPG Maker 2003 up to and including RPG Maker VX Ace. Engines and popularity prior to RPG Maker 2003 was pretty low. And the eninges after VX Ace are pretty crappy. I also think this coincides with the best creativity with the games too.

The Creation Era of RPG Maker = December 17, 1992 - December 17, 2002
The Golden Era of RPG Maker = December 18, 2002 - October 22, 2015
The Modern Era of RPG Maker = October 23, 2015 - Present Day
Don't understand the engines popularity thing. RPGMaker 2000 was so popular that it crashed Don Miguel's site and had 100,000 visitors in one day. Which was pretty good for 2000 considering the internet was really small back then. Going by google trends the interest for rpgmaker waned around 2008.

Wrote this interpretation awhile back:
Before RM95 (1996-1998) BDM aka Before Don Miguel
RM95 Era (1998-1999) Dark Ages
RM2K Era (1999-2003) Golden Age
RM2K3 Era (2003-2004) DDM (End of Don Miguel Reign)
GamingWorld Era (2004-2009) (also known as Common Era to mortals)
RMN Exodus (2007-2013)
I'd say the best years were around 2002 to 2004.

Classic menu driven RPGs were still a mainstream genre, so you had a lot of people who grew up with, and were interested in making RPGs. The community itself was also a bit less elitist.

My memory's a bit fuzzy, but I remember around 2005 onward the community started to care more about things like graphical consistency and the three tile rule. Not really bad per se but that meant games took a lot longer to develop, and there was an even greater risk of burnout. I kind of doubt something like A Blurred Line would have even gotten a demo release if Lysander had to make Lashe City look like Solar Tear.
I wasn't in the scene before 2012, so my frame of reference is mostly VX Ace and onwards. So I'd say it was around 2012-2015 when RPG Maker was finally becoming more accessible and what you could do with these engines started soaring to new heights, but the indie floodgates in general also hadn't quite opened yet.

I'm sad I missed the golden age and didn't get on board sooner.
author=Darken
more nerd graphs regarding rpgmakeralso when compared to other engines for context

It's crazy how popular RPG Maker 2000 was back in the early 2000s. It was definitely a golden age. It was far more searched-for than Unity is now.
Starscream
Conquest is made from the ashes of one's enemies.
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Whatever year it was ankylo invented (or independently re-invented) animated water tiles in RPG Maker 95.
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
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author=Sgt M
I wasn't in the scene before 2012, so my frame of reference is mostly VX Ace and onwards. So I'd say it was around 2012-2015 when RPG Maker was finally becoming more accessible and what you could do with these engines started soaring to new heights, but the indie floodgates in general also hadn't quite opened yet.

I'm sad I missed the golden age and didn't get on board sooner.

Ah so you missed the time when someone sprayed shampoo on a monitor with Iron Gaia on the screen, pretending it waa jizz, to mock Legion.

Truly golden times
Honestly, I have a certain fondness for the Don Miguel era because it helped to introduce me to this community and internet culture as a kid.
author=DungeonDevDude
Honestly, I have a certain fondness for the Don Miguel era because it helped to introduce me to this community and internet culture as a kid.


Let's never forget that Don Miguel had a game called Niggaz vs. Satan. It was a different time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InzYLA23PZo
author=dethmetal
Let's never forget that Don Miguel had a game called Niggaz vs. Satan. It was a different time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InzYLA23PZo

I asked a friend who spoke Russian to translate that for me.

That... might have been a mistake.
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