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» History of RPG Maker - Part 1
History of RPG Maker
Part 1 - Super Famicom

ASCII started their "make your own RPG" lineup in 1988, with the release of "Mamirin" on the PC-8801, and followed it up with other titles, like "RPG Creation Tool: Dante" on the MSX2. But with the insane popularity of the home game consoles, and ASCII's own success on the Famicom and Super Famicom, they made the logical step and started developing one of these RPG-creation titles for the Super Famicom.

-RPG Tsukuru: Super Dante-

The console RPG Maker series got it's start in 1995, when RPG Tsukuru: Super Dante was released on March 31st. While fairly primitive by today's standards, it was pretty ambitious. The game's graphics were pretty good for a Super Famicom RPG (putting our RPGM1 to shame), and it utilized mode-7 effects for the world map. unfortunately, it was built using a Dragon Quest engine, so the battle system is very boring.

Now, being on the Super Famicom, you may be wondering just how you were supposed to trade games. The first thing that comes to mind is to let people borrow your cartridge, right? Well, that's certainly an option, but it isnt the only option.

See, ASCII created something called the "Super Turbo File". This battery-powered device plugged into your Super Famicom's second controller port, and in certain games that supported it, you could copy your saves to it. That STF on the game's box notes that it's compatible with it. So if you wanted to let someone play your game, you just let them borrow your Super Turbo File, or even copy your game to their Super Turbo File.

The first RPG Tsukuru title was a great success, and they wasted no time releasing the second installment in the series, not even a year later.

-RPG Tsukuru 2-

RPG Tsukuru 2 was released on January 31st, 1996. The engine is again based on Dragon Quest, but the graphics are improved, the editor has a bit more power, and the software just flows better. It also uses the same headache-inducing "build a field map from big squares" system we'll see in the next installment, although it's field maps are much nicer looking, not to mention you can freely roam them. Aside from a few very minor differences, the best way to sum up RPG Tsukuru 2 is simply "RPG Maker 1/RPG Tsukuru 3, on the SNES". But hey, did you notice that box? sure is big, huh?

RPG Tsukuru 2 is special. RPG Tsukuru 2 is a Satellaview game! In japan, there was a satellite modem adapter released for the Super Famicom. Does this mean online sharing of your games? No, it doesnt. Not exactly. See, you'd plug in the Satellaview cartridge into the Super Famicom, and then plug in a memory card into that cartridge, and you could download files for games that supported the Satellaview, or even download full games (like the Chrono Trigger sequel, Radical Dreamers). For RPG Tsukuru 2, you'd download data from the Satellaview onto the memory card, remove the memory card, and then insert it into the RPG Tsukuru 2 cartridge. I don't know exactly what data was available, unfortunately. I imagine it's along the lines of games that won the various contests ASCII held, games ASCII made, or possibly even new graphic and sound files. I just have no idea. I know users could upload data with the Satellaview, so it's possible that you could send your game to ASCII for contests with it, but again, there's not much info out there on this.

RPG Tsukuru 2 supports the Super Turbo File, just as the original did, for sharing your games.

While there were other Tsukuru titles released in japan for the Super Famicom, only two of them were of the RPG-Making variety. So while we move on to the Playstation generation, we'll end this section with some parting shots of RPG Tsukuru 2's hugeness.

Truly, it is a thing that is huge.

<Super Famicom> <Sony Playstation> <Playstation 2>


if you'd like to know more about this first entry in the console RPG Maker franchise, or any of the other titles in this article, they will all have in-depth features available by the end of the year.

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