I still think Flash is the best tool to start with. It has everything you need and its pretty user friendly. Unity is the other one a lot of people are jumping to, but I've never used it. So I can't really say how it compares to Flash.
Also, it depends on the type of game you want to make. If you want to do a classic Adventure game, try using "Adventure Game Studio" its free and there have been a lot of games made with it. All of the Wadjet Eye adventure games were made with it.
If you want to make an RPG, there's "RPG Maker" which I think comes with a large catalogue of stock RPG type art, so you can just concentrate on your game design.
The only thing about those two is they aren't browser ready, they're for making downloadable games. So really it depends on how you want to distribute too. Lots of choice!
Seconding flash, lots of help out there! Try not to jump into an "advanced" language immediately (unless you want to spend a lot of time figuring stuff out, and don't want instant results).
I started out with python (not that I remember much of it anymore), and then went to Java. Takes a while, but I now feel like I'm getting close to being partially done being almost ready to be close to finishing.
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