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Video Game Guide to Data Entry: Characters
We want a database that anyone can easily navigate and quickly access the information they are searching for. To accomplish this we want to include only noteworthy characters such as quest givers or enemies while avoiding filler or background characters. Filler characters do nothing except give the game world a sense of habitation.
VideoGameGeek is the only domain out of the domain trinity to accept characters into the database. It's two sister domains, BGG and RPGG do not have this unique field. Why is this? Well, Video games are a unique medium from tabletop gaming. Unlike board games, characters are featured prominently within video games; almost to the same extent as in films. Now just imagine a movie without it's cast! Unthinkable right? The characters are essential to the medium. Characters are also featured prominently within pen-and-paper RPGs but these games can be more open-ended and give you greater freedom to invent or change the characters and world you image yourself within. Video games allow you to interact with and develop the characters you meet but rarely offer the kind of freedom and malleability of tabletop RPGs.
Other Important Pages:
Over the years we have held several special character tournaments:
2012 Tournament of Heroes
2016 Tournament of Villains
Characters - What is accepted?
Some characters are currently excluded from the database. Others have specific rules attached to them. See: Special Rules and Caveats for more information.
| Character Type
| Class / Profession / Race
| A common method of assigning a set of capabilities or skills to a game character.
| Opposition to the player character and their goals.
| Random Encounter
| An enemy or non-player character that occurs sporadically and at random.
| Generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage, level or guarding a specific objective. A battle against a boss is typically seen as a dramatic event.
| Helpful NPC
| A non-player character who interacts with the player in some meaningful way. This can be through providing valuable information, items, direct assistance, side quests, etc.
| Party Member
| A party member is a part of the player's group. Oftentimes the player will have to choose from a group or pool of characters to put into the "party" to take out adventuring.
| The character that accompanies the protagonist for the entirety or part of the game. They sometimes (but not always) play a larger role than NPCs and a smaller or identical importance to the player character.
| Organization / Team / Troop
| A team or group of people linked toward a common purpose.
| Player Character
| The protagonist is arguably one of the most important characters.
| Vehicle / Mount
| An animal or mobile machine that transports passengers or cargo. It should be an integral part of game-play or something you take direct control of to drive/ride around - i.e. not an inanimate object with no purpose other than as a backdrop.
"Other" is also an option, but we recommended avoiding its use if possible. It is too easily abused as a dumping ground. Typically when someone uses "Other" what they really should have used is "Helpful NPC".
Characters - What is excluded?
| Character Type
| Inanimate objects / Things
| Objects, items, buildings, etc that act as a backdrop or general resource/material.
| Insubstantial or Filler NPCs
| Non-player characters with whom you do not interact in a meaningful way. These filler characters contribute nothing to the game or story; they are present as background clutter, giving the world a sense of habitation. For RPGs, that means all those random people you can talk to who do nothing more.
| Real Life Persona
| Except for historical figures, this may change in the future.
| The place or time a game is set within is not a character.
| Attributes such as strength, agility, intelligence, etc.
Create a Character Entry
To enter a character into the database click the 'Misc' tab in the NavBar. Then select the 'Create Character' link. You can also go to a game page and go down to where characters are listed. Once there you can click on the [Add Character] link.
Add Character Link on a Game Page
You will be taken to the character creation page (pictured below).
The Create Character Window
The name the character is best known by. Some characters are known by more than one name or nickname or they may have had their name changed for a release outside their country of origin. Always use the name the character is best known by for the Primary Name and list any others in the Note to Admin box to be added as alternative names.
If two unrelated characters share the same name, add parentheses with the name of the game they appear in.
Note: The "primary name" is what will appear on the character entry and in searches. The character "Nickname" (see versions below) is what will be displayed on the character section of a game page.
The description provided for a character should be of reasonable length (i.e. not a sentence long) and preferably describe the characters appearance, personality, or motivations without giving away any key plot points from games they appear in, as this may spoil those games for others.
Create a Character Release Version
Directly below the "character creation window" is the "character version window" (labeled Appearance Information). It has mandatory fields for the characters name (labeled Nickname), Category (a.k.a. character type, see below), and the game(s) that they appear in. Every character entry will contain one or more character versions.
What Gets a Version?
The following are instances in which a version should be created:
- One version is created for every game the character appears in. For episodic games, a new version is required for each episode.
What Does Not Get a Version?
The following are instances in which a version should NOT be created:
- A conversion from good to evil during the storyline.
- A change in outfits, transformation in physical form or abilities.
- A version is not required for HD, remastered, or re-released games.
- A version is not required for compilations if the character already appeared in the individual compilation items.
The Create Character Version Window
The nickname used for a version should be the name the character is best known by in the game linked to that version. If a character appears in a large number of games, the general practice is to add parentheses with the name of the game linked to that version.
Note: The "primary name" (see 'create character' above) is what will appear on the character entry and in searches. The character "Nickname" is what will be displayed on the character section of a game page.
Category (Character Type)
A character type (labeled "Category") defines the role or purpose of the character within a video game. In some instances a character may fit more than one "character type" due to any number of circumstances. Perhaps their role changes over the course of the game or with fighting games for example, you can play as the character (Player Character) or against that same character (Boss). Feel free to add as many character types as need be.
The Character Category Window
A description is not mandatory, but always appreciated.
Currently, one version is allowed for every game a character appears in. There should never be two games linked to a single version. In unique instances where a single named character can appear alongside another of itself within the same game (e.g. a fighting game where regular Mario can fight against Dr. Mario) two versions are created for that one game.
How to Add a Version to an Existing Character
To add a version to a character that already exists in the database you must first go to that character's entry. Directly under the description box is where the Character Versions are listed. Click on the 'Add Version' link. You will be taken to the create character version page.
Character Versions Listed on a Character Page
Select the appropriate name from the drop-down menu, type in the appropriate nickname for this version, select which character type (Category) it is, and in which video game this specific version appears. If the character has an image in the character gallery that fits you can choose it as a 'Rep Image'. Click Save and you are done.
Special Rules and Caveats
Some genres, cases, or character types pose a dilemma when it comes to submitting them. For management and the sake of consistency we have tried to lay out clear and precise guidelines on how these tricky entries should be handled:
Every unique or named character receives one entry in the database and this is especially true for characters that are part of a long running franchise such as Mario, Sam, or Solid Snake for example. No matter how many games, forms, or names that character has (e.g. Dr. Mario, Baby Mario, Older Snake, Younger Snake, etc.) they still receive just one entry. They may however, receive multiple character versions (see above).
Many games feature the same generic characters such as Deer, Cyclops, or Dragons for example. We do not need a new "wolf" entry for every RPG that has one as an enemy.To avoid cluttering the site we accept just one entry in the database for each generic character and then create a version for every game they appear in (see character versions above). This applies to all "generic" character entries be they enemies, troops, vehicles, race, and so on.
We try to limit new character entries to unique, named characters only. There may be exceptions where a generic character warrants their own entry. Alistar the Minotaur for example is defined, important, and unique enough to be considered separate from the generic Minotaur.
MOBA and ARTS Characters
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) or action real-time strategy (ARTS) games have you select a character from a pool. Depending on the game these characters can range from being just your "play piece" to having deep, in-depth backstory. Sometimes they contain characters or monsters that were completely made up from the creator's own mind and easily warrant their own entries on the site. Other times they may be inspired or rehashed versions of familiar "generic characters" such as Zeus or Medusa.
Remember the goal is not to clutter the site with similar characters. Slight differences, especially superficial ones are not enough for a character to get an entry all to itself. Use your best judgment when deciding if a MOBA/ARTS character is unique and important enough to get their own entry or if they are generic and should get listed as a version on an existing entry. Ultimately the admins will get the final say on grey cases such as these.
Class, Profession, and Race as a Character
Many RPGs, particularly those based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise or in the Massively-Multiplayer Online genre will allow you to create characters based on a class or race. For these you should add the class, profession, or race as a Character. They are handled similarly to the MOBA and ARTS characters (see above). Some examples: Class/Profession - Warrior, Archer and Race - Bosmer, Turian.
Multi-Stage and Evolution Characters
Some characters may undergo a drastic change in appearance or ability either through a metamorphosis of some kind or by young and adult variations. In these cases the character receives one entry onto which it's young/adult stages or other "variations" are lumped. Examples: Pichu and Jaggi.
Multiple Entities, transformations or Alter Egos
For characters who:
- Possess multiple heads and a single body. Ex Orochi.
- Are part of a group, company, council, or other intangible entity.
- Have a "prominent" alter ego. Ex Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
- Undergo a physical transformation, becoming something else entirely. Ex Werewolf.
Ignoring outward appearances, we give each individual character their own entry. The fact that they share a single body or their outward appearance changes is irrelevant.
Link from the Legend of Zelda can transform into a wolf; this version of himself has been dubbed "Wolf Link" by fans. Since "Link" and "Wolf Link" are the same character they share an entry.
Dark Link has his own character entry because he is not "Link" but a separate and distinct entity. He resembles Link in appearance because he is a sort of doppelgänger and an enemy within the Legend of Zelda games.
Some games feature characters that are never seen on screen, but still play an integral role in the game such as leaving behind Audio logs, clues, or vital support directly to the protagonist. Despite their physical absence we still include these characters in our database.
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