What an enjoyable game for a first attempt.
Thanks for the link to Game Maker, Mouser. I'm downloading it. Looks fun. This is probably a lot more complex, but there is a program out there called RPG Maker
(Hey, they have a new version! Cool.) designed specifically to make RPGs in the style of SNES and early (2D) Playstation RPGs. Cool fun if you ever take the time to learn how to use the scripting language. The last one I tried was RPG Maker 2003 which had a someone involved scripting language, but from the preview video the XP version looks like it could be much more intuitive.