Here’s a list of software that can help you make your first game:
- Scratch is a game maker for kids made by MIT.
- GameSalad is easy to use but is no longer free. If you’re an educator or student you can get the software cheaper here.
- Game Maker Windows and Mac, and many people recommend it. Here’s an introduction.
- Corona looks like it’s one of the more advanced options on this list. I have yet to try it.
- RPG Maker Obviously if you want to make an RPG this is worth looking at. Here’s an introduction.
- FPSCreator This is the only one on this list that requires money upfront. Looks good though.
- Scirra AKA Construct is a relatively new tool for windows to create HTML5 games on your desktop.
- Stencyl. An amazingly visual way to quickly create games for flash and iOS. Cross-platform.
Software for Interactive Fiction
- Twine is a good tool to let you focus on writing; ideal for RPGs, interactive fiction, and other text-heavy games.
- Versu is another great deal for making a game around interactive fiction.
- StoryNexus is an online platform that permits monetization.
- Choice of Games is another online platform that permits monetization and mobile apps.
- Inform 7 is free software allowing you to write in plain language.
- Belle – visual novel maker is open source and free software.
- Ren’Py another visual novel maker which uses python on the back-end.
If you’re looking for something more advanced check out this page.
Can’t find the application you’re looking for? There’s always Wikipedia’s category page on video game creation software.