Eh... It's kind of a long story. Parts may seem irrelevant, but they're not. Trust me.
I've always enjoyed "making games", I guess you could say. I used to draw out elaborate 2D platformer mazes on paper, complete with goals and monsters and items and sometimes a story to go with them. When my friends discovered that I made up games (which they actually found pretty fun and interesting... which isn't saying much at 8 years old), I started making games in other formats. We had "Dinosaurs" that we'd play outside where we'd split up into groups of dinosaurs and people and hunt each other complete with storylines and objectives and sticks littered about to serve as "new and different guns" as well as stashes of leaves and other plants to serve as "healing items". I think at one point we even implemented an "ammo" system that used tree bark as the "clips" and each gun had a certain number of shots so as to keep the game fair (the human players won too easily with unlimited ammo machine guns and rocket launchers). Later, we adopted the game into something a bit more "video gamey" when the Jurassic Park toys came out (all the characters, dinosaurs, guns, and vehicles mommy and daddy could buy for us to play our imaginary games!). These games eventually turned into me and maybe one other person controlling the dinosaurs while everyone picked their own character and starting weapon before playing outside by "levels" which all had their own goals and roleplaying. We did eventually lose interest in playing with action figures and toy dinosaurs and set about playing other games. At one point, I had what could be considered a "D&D Session" via phone. We discovered "3 way calling" and we'd often put five or more of us on the same phone line to talk to each other and we'd roleplay and such. I'd be dungeon master and describe to them what was happening and what the area looked like while they told me how they'd explore and what they were doing. Even after I got bored of it and quit wanting to do it, they would still ask me every so often to do it again because it was so much fun for them. After that, I started tinkering with drawn games again. This time, I had Word Processor and Excel Spreadsheets to help. Excel provided the "board" for the game and Word provided the stat sheets. These games were more complex, but not very much fun. Eventually, with many less friends to play with, I invented this "Card Game" like game. We played that for a few months before everyone got bored (and I ran out of ideas). That was the last game I created and played with my friends.
So, a couple years later, a bit more isolated from my own friends and the kids at school, I decided I wanted to try the whole "game making" thing again. I tried doing it via website (homestead was big at the time) and it was a miserable failure. I tried doing it via message boards, and that also ended in failure (turns out, that not many mature people want to roleplay on message boards unless it's either naughty, or they can make up their own rules for their own characters). A few attempts at the message board format and I gave up on it.
I spent several years after that just emulating SNES games I didn't (or couldn't due to them not being released in the US) own. A friend of mine from the UK thought that maybe we should open up a website and do reviews for a lot of these games. So, I dabbled in that for a bit (he tried to teach me HTML, but I lacked the patience for it) and discovered that I really loved all the mechanics of games far more than the actual playing of games. There was something interesting and visceral about picking apart how something worked and then why it was designed that way. It fed into another of my childhood quirks... Taking things apart to see how they worked... and putting them back together if I could remember how I got it apart. So, at this point, I was tired of just playing games. I could play MMOs, RPGs, and emulated games until the world ended and it wouldn't really make me that happy. I liked building things. Building worlds.
I typed in "make RPGs" into the Yahoo search engine. Among the first page results, buried somewhere near the bottom of them was "Free RPG Maker 2000!". I'd given everything else on that first page a chance and came up empty for stuff to work with. I figured it couldn't hurt to download yet another program that might not be worth my time. After getting through the initial "text doesn't display properly" issues of the pirated program, I begin to really enjoy it. While I wasn't a fan of coding... or having to code... Here I was with a program that made coding seem so simple that it made me excited beyond measure. I could just tell the game "hey, call up a shop" and then load the interface with what I wanted it to sell! It was fantastically easy! But, I couldn't make any games on it. I had to seek a lot of help. So, I started consulting websites where they had tutorials on how to do things (like party members following behind you, how to create a Steal skill, how to make a bank, etcetera). Reading these taught me more about the program and how it worked. Most importantly, however, what I'd learned gave me ideas.
So, I tinkered with it for a few years and high school began to really dominate my life, so I gave it up. I never created anything substantial, but I kept many of the ideas. I even took some of the ideas I had and adopted them into a "Lego RPG" that my friends and I would play in my room with my actual Legos. Yes, at 16-18, we were still doing this. High School ended and I spent a year doing nothing but spending every waking moment online and putting in job applications.
When I finally got a job, I spent the next 4 or so years playing what games I could afford to (I was huge into Halo and Pokémon), and never thought about making games. Instead, I focused more on creating stories. I had discovered in my last couple years of high school that I loved reading and loved writing even moreso. At the end of the four years, with my roommate (and best friend) leaving the apartment because we were constantly fighting (most of it his fault, a good chunk my own) and my girlfriend of 6 years having dumped me for another guy, I sat back and thought to myself. Playing video games to fill the hole wouldn't do it. Talking to people online wouldn't fill the hole either. So, I went looking for the old program I used to own. RPG Maker 2000. It was significantly harder to track down this time than it was the first. The RTP was almost non-existent, though you could find the program itself anywhere. I tracked it down and began tinkering with it again. I was full of new ideas and interesting thoughts. I filled my life with it again.
Then, I started hanging out with my cousin and his friends. All of them still in high school and all of them thinking I was super awesome 'cause I was like 24 and a gamer and was willing to play with little kids that didn't know anything. So, I played Halo with them. We made up our own games in Halo. I forgot all about RPG Maker again and in a computer upgrade, lost the program.
Until two years ago. Two years ago, with my cousin out of high school and with a job (well, it's been longer than that) and all his friends gone with only one or two that still hang out on occasion, I got to thinking about making games again. I had loved making games so much. I spent a large chunk of my life making games for myself or inventing new ones to play with my friends. So, I thought to myself, "It was a massive pain last time to search for RPG Maker 2000, I bet if I searched now, I'd never find it". Then it hit me, "you know, I'm like 27. I have a job. I have a credit card. I have money. I wonder if the company that made that program is still around and has newer and better versions of the program I love". I typed in "RPG Maker" into the search box and found myself here. Oh, they did still make the program I'd fallen in love with. The trouble was that it now cost $70. Did I have $70 to throw at a program in which I might not have enough time to make a finished game? Lucky for me, there was a 30 day trial.
I downloaded the trial and set immediately to work. I started tinkering with everything. I opened the Database and poured over everything that had changed. I played with the eventing. I did test text. I programmed in little things I remembered doing from RPG Maker 2000. Most of it all worked! When the trial ended, it was a no-brainer. By the 15 day mark of it, I'd been throwing money at my credit card like crazy so that I could afford the $70 pricetag. I purchased the program immediately and set about trying to build my first game.
I came to the community because they were the "official forums" and I kind of needed someplace to ask questions when the program stumped me. One of my first posts was in how to make the Timer do more than 99 minutes. I was promptly forwarded to "use variables as a timer" tutorial and facepalmed at having not remembered how to do that from RPG Maker 2000. After that, my next post was about a feature I had in my game (at the time, it was just a series of ideas and features that really had no context or structure) because one of my friends was disturbed by what I had created. That second topic asking if it was too disturbing is what cemented me to the community as a whole.
That topic gave me confidence that I could make a game, make a good game, and that there were lots of other people to help me out on doing so, even if it wasn't some technical question. The community cemented me into the program and in working with it as long as I have. Without the community, I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be using VX Ace, and I wouldn't feel like maybe this time I could do something with the program I paid for.
That's my incredibly long-winded story about finding the program, finding the community, and finding the community to be a good reason to keep using and enjoying the program.