Game Maker is a special little program used to make games and other types of things, but mostly games.
In 1999, Mark Overmars, some science dude from the Netherlands, made a progrm called Animo, which was used for 2D animation. It then suddenly turned into a game creation engine. It is never explicitly stated how Mark went from 2-D animation to game design. We assume that he wanted to do something far more interesting than making childish cartoons. This move is usually referred to as "pulling an Eisner".
The first stable release was introduced in Novmber 15, 1999 and enjoyed a new version almost yearly up until 2003 when Mark performed an Eisner all over again. This time, instead of going into something way more interesting than game design, he simply gave it a facelift.
After that, it was used for several competitions, including one for Games4Girls.
It was also featured in G4 and that's pretty much it.
Game Maker uses an intuitive drag-and-drop system, meaning you just drag & drop anything the game needs into it. It is that simple. It even has its own programming language, the Game Maker Language, which makes your game more complex and makes the whole program somewhat redundant. However, like most things you find on the internet (excluding porn), it gets complicated. We all want to make games that work like Grand Theft Auto IV and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
What you want
Unfortunately, in order to make games that damn good, you need to have a college degree in game design, game programming, etc. Game Maker is for those who wants to make some small cash (you can make money with this) or for just a hobby. Therefore, even though the program is fairly advanced, there is no way in hell you can make games that f#$king great with Game Maker. That GTA III clone that was referred to earlier? It happens to be one of the best games made with Game Maker and the grapics look absolutely f!*king terrible when compared to GTA IV. Also, don't be surprised when that FPS you're working on ends up looking like Doom.
What You'll Get
Even worse, in order to make games like the above, you can't just rely on the drag-and-drop system. You need to learn the Game Maker Language (GML) in order to make your game function like you want it to. If you do use the drag-and-drop system only, your game will end up looking like something a 9 year old made for show and tell.
What You Start With
The above image is from the tutorial on how to make your very first game. If you don't use the language, it pretty much acts the same way. This proves once again that if you want to make a program worth something, you need to know how to put a bunch of letter and numbers together in a way that does not f&)k up the computer and runs well. Either way, there are some good games and tutorials online and, who knows, maybe you can make a game that can be the next great game with Game Maker.
We doubt it, but hey, at least you can do something with it.
During the realease of Game Maker 8, YoYo Games held a competition for the best logo to use for the program. The one below won.
It's not that hard to see how it won.
Interestigly, the forums of YoYo Games (they host Game Maker and any game created with it) went batshit crazy over it. Wikipedia put it as "garnered heavy criticism and controversy", which pretty much means the same thing. After a while of yelling, YoYo Games made a new logo where the smiley face had his head turned and became black. With this information, it is clear that the original logo was a product of racial profiling.
Logos should all be equal.
Even more interesting, no one outside the YoYo Games forum actually noticed.