The Tower of Druaga was a game released by Namco in 1984. In it, you fought through a 60-floor tower, and on each floor there is a (seemingly) optional treasure you can get by performing a task that is unique to each floor and unknowable except through trial and error. In addition, many treasures were actually mandatory, which you could only figure out by reaching the end without them and finding the final boss unbeatable, and may others were actively harmful, which you could only figure out by earning them and getting sucker-punched for it. In America, the game was derided during its arcade run for being obtuse and needlessly punishing (though Japanese kids loved the group effort of comparing notes with other kids and solving the puzzle of the game as a team). However, I did not play it in the arcade: I played it in Namco Museum Volume 3, which included a guide to the game in its manual. Being able to consult the guide, I had a great time completing the variety of unique challenges the game offered, in contrast to the other old arcade games alongside it, where each level was largely the same save for speed. I think the core concept of the game is very solid, and I'd like to give it a glow-up and some much needed quality of life improvements.
Anyone Can Escape a Tower (I'm open for suggestions on the title - it's supposed to sound like the title of a self-help book for damsels in distress) stars princess Ilas, who has been kidnapped and locked in the dungeon of the demon tyrant Morbio, while making an attempt to orchestrate her own escape, she comes across a decorative suit of armor in the hallway and dons it, quickly realizing that the armor is all that remains of the Knight who had come to rescue her, but was defeated by Morbio and forced to inhabit his armor as a decorative piece for all eternity. However, the knight did gain an extensive knowledge of the tower's secrets, and with Ilas wearing the armor, he can whisper guidance into her ear, helping her deck herself to the nines in Morbio's most valuable weapons and take the demon king down herself.
ACEaT plays largely like The Tower of Druaga, except that at the start of each level, you are told outright what task you need to perform to access the treasure on that floor. Because of this, the tasks themselves stray away from "step on this specific tile" and more towards interesting challenges that take advantage of the unique mechanics of different enemies and items. In addition, there are no mandatory items and no harmful items - you can in theory beat the game without picking up a single treasure, and no treasure will hurt you for picking it up (though some treasures may be unobtainable without certain earlier treasures, and some treasures may be useless if they upgrade an item you didn't get when it was available on an earlier floor).
There's no real reason why this "should" be RJS's first game, and I'm not even particularly devoted to it as a game I absolutely need to make someday, but it's a game that's simple enough that it can be RJS's first game, so it's a candidate in the running.