Game Maker in a Nutshell
Game Maker is an object-oriented game development tool. The unique thing about Game Maker is its dual functionality between an action based drag and drop interface to the internal programing language, GML.
Game Maker is highly recommended by hundreds of its users every day. Its simple interface and easy to grasp programing concepts (not including the drag and drop actions).
Game Design Novice Recommendation
Game Maker rates as "not recommended" by Game Design Novice because it seems to keep people in the"drag and drop" phase and therefore people who use Game Maker rarely learn basic game programming skills using it. It might be useful for the first couple of weeks as a primer to REAL game programming, but that's about it.
Game Maker is free (Called the Lite Version), although the Pro version is recommended ($20 USD). The Pro version unlocks many features, including 3D, extensions, DLL's, multi-player capability, and more.
You can download Game Maker 7 Lite here.
To begin using Game Maker, check out the tutorials here.