I'd recommend a combination of the above suggestions.
I started with Python console programs, then moved on to Python+PyGame. I think this is a great way to learn programming fundamentals. Try to start slowly and make sure you really understand how things work before moving on to more complex systems. If nothing else, write a text-based guessing game and Pong before you try a big game.
When you do start coding your sidescroller, I recommend using Unity. It's even easier to write a Unity game than a PyGame game, and many complicated tasks are already abstracted away for you. A 2D game in Unity shouldn't be a problem, but you may have to do some work to get it functioning as expected.
As to the flexiblity of XNA: the average game is not even going to notice the flexibility difference between Unity and XNA. You'll be able to use more external libraries from XNA and do more filesystem stuff; that's about it for most games. Unity is more crossplatform (PC/Mac/Linux/iOS/Android/Consoles -- latter three if you pay).
Good luck with your project!
WackidevMember Since 19 Jun 2012
Offline Last Active Oct 29 2012 01:25 PM
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