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Ten Years of Game Maker 1999-2009

It is 10 years to the day since Mark Overmars released the first public version of Game Maker, 1.1.  Since then Game Maker has undergone huge changes with the addition of Game Maker Language scripting, the introduction of many more drag and drop icons and functions, 3D, particles and extensions. The userbase has grown from a handful to many thousands of individuals around the world and Game Maker is now taught at schools globally with over 40,000 games having been uploaded at

The history of Game Maker is a topic covered in many one-issue magazines where the content is taken primarily from a page at the YoYo Games wiki.  Hopefully our look back at a decade of Game Maker will be more insightful and should bring back some memories.

Early Years

Game Maker 1.1Game Maker 2 was released in the year 2000

Above: (l) Game Maker 1.1 from 1999,  (r) Game Maker 2 from 2000

(1999-2001) The early years of Game Maker saw big changes to the interface and several different file formats.  A quick look at the interface in Game Maker 1.1 (above left) should immediately indicate some of the biggest changes as all the drag and drop icons fit on one panel for a start!

Rise to prominence

Game Maker 4.3 IDEThe first Game Maker game I ever made

Above: The first Game Maker game I made, (l) the Game Maker 4.3 IDE looks familiar to the one used to date

(2002) Hands up who remembers the ezBoard community. The one username I will always remember is Burning Sheep Productions, last active at the current Game Maker Community in July this year.  The off-topic areas were surprisingly good natured.

4.3b, released in 2002, was the first of version of Game Maker that I used.  This period saw the launch of the first Game Maker magazine, frequent updates to the software and a selection of top quality user created editable Game Maker games on the official website.

Well known community members included Damaged and Morphosis.


3D Waterfall drawn in Game MakerGame Maker 5 nag screen

Above: (l) an example of 3D graphics in Game Maker, (c) start of the current Game Maker Community, (r) Nag screen shown at the start of Game Maker 5

2003 saw the launch of the current Game Maker Community and the beginning of the commercial side of the free game development tool.  Initially Mark asked for donations to support his work on Game Maker and then version 5 introduced registration at $15.

In 2006 Mark and Jacob Habgood released their first book, The Game Maker’s Apprentice:  Game Development for Beginners.  Version 6 of Game Maker included a completely re-written graphics system which included 3D functions.

Well known community members/staff: hpapillon, Smarty and shad0w.

YoYo Games

YoYo Games Shareholders including Mark Overmars (3) and Sandy Duncan (4)
YoYo Games Shareholders including Overmars (c) and Duncan (cr)

(2007 – current)  2007 was the year in which Game Maker became part of the UK startup YoYo Games Ltd.  The Game Maker Company took a one-third share in the company that counted former xBox employees Michel Cassius and Sandy Duncan amongst its investors.

As of now there has not been a release of Game Maker for over two and a half years.  Incredible when you consider the extra resources the company should bring.

Well known community members: Chronic, KCLC, NakedPaulToast and of course FredFredrickson who is perhaps more famous for his appearances in Game Maker magazines than anything else.

The future…

Game Maker 8 RC1 IDE
Game Maker 8 RC1 IDE

A second release candidate of Game Maker 8 is now expected before the final full release (date still unknown).  There will be a new logo, a new registration procedure and updates to the services offered at

Game Maker 1.1 and 4.3 screenshot courtesy of Eyas Sharaiha from YoYo Games wiki

What do you think?

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  1. Oh my god, memories. I made the account “l33tnerd” on the Game Maker Community not long after it became a thing. I was 11/12 years old and contributed absolutely nothing besides immaturity, fighting, and inane questions. Chronic….KCLC…man, names I haven’t seen in years. I was part of every forum., 64digits, the GMC, the Platform Community, etc. I spent the next decade dabbling but, in the end, releasing nothing. It is, however, the sole reason that I learned how to create digital artwork and how to code. And I have legitimate nostalgia for a childhood spent bickering online and learning honest skills that translated into the work I do now. I owe a lot to Mark and GameMaker. My interests pivoted into proper 3D engines like Unity3D/Unreal, but Game Maker was a wonderful stepping-stone.

    Ahh memories. I haven’t thought about these things in years. Jumper. The guy who made that lives not too far away. The Dex platformer games! Chris and I chatted on and off for a bit and I looked up to him. Shawn64 unfortunately took his life just a few days after I last spoke to him. A lot of my old online passwords were a simple variation of Darthlupi’s username. Chronic banned and unbanned my brother and I quite a bit. Didn’t he have a fractal avatar? We once made an account that looked IDENTICAL to Mark Overmars’ on the official message boards and made some really childish and thoughtless trolling attempts with that…

    I appreciate the patience of those of us who were adults back then, because my continued time in the community really let me learn a lot of things about information technology.

  2. Nice Post 🙂
    I was actually hoping to do something similar to this on TGMS (The Game Maker Show), along with a Mark Overmars interview, however, due to unexpected delays we had to do something else.

    @Matther_H, yes, I noticed Phil’s good graphics skills too 🙂

    Its hard to believe that it has been TEN Years! I hope they continue to grow and improve for many more!

  3. Great post Phil! Good to see that you know how to use Photoshop (referring to the shareholders image) ;P

    Your very much right about the time gap with releases. It’d be good if after GM 8 is released, they made new updates bi-monthly. Releasing new features, extensions, examples, library’s, and what not (they could have something like 3 programmers working on it, not many, but just enough for each person to work on something different). It would have been great if Mark had of pushed for the release of GM8 today, but that’s understandable.

    I really hope to see Yoyo grow in many ways, as that will help GM grow, too.

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