I'm a brand new programmer, I've spent some time in classes learning Java, SQL, PHP, HTML, and VBnet. I've been interested in making video games since I was a wee lad, and after spending about a week or so trollin around the forums I've noticed a lot of recommendations to using Unity for beginner developers. I don't feel confident developing a game standalone at this point, and quite frankly don't know where to start.
What are the downsides to using Unity?
What would you recommend as an alternative?
Where should I start?
Edit: I should mention I'm interested in a pretty basic 2d game similar to Pokemon. Not for profit, just for fun to get my feet wet. I'll brainstorm with my buddy when the time comes, but for now we just want to develop something for private use, and to expand our knowledge of programming.
Thanks in advance.