Video Game Guide to Data Entry: Characters
This page details how to submit new characters into the database. Character pages are unique to VGG and are not found on either BGG or RPGG; This is due to the unique and intimate ways in which the video game medium enables the player to interact with the characters.
Characters are featured prominently within pen-and-paper RPGs but these games tend be more open-ended and flexible than video games, which gives the players greater leeway and liberties with the characters and world - hence why they are absent from RPGGeek.
With literally millions of video game characters, including every single one in the database would quickly overwhelm it. We want the database to be useful by avoiding unnecessary clutter. To accomplish this we want to include only noteworthy characters such as quest givers or enemies, while avoiding filler and background characters. Filler characters do nothing except give the game world a sense of habitation.
Other Important Pages:
Over the years we have held several special character tournaments: Main Character Tournament Page
Character submissions can be a bit tricky to understand at first, due in so small part to the sheer variety and diversity of quirky characters out there. The chart below roughly details what we do and don't accept. There are also certain character types with special rules attached to them - see further down for more information.
| Characters - What is accepted?
|| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| Love Interest
|| A potential partner in love to the protagonist.
| Organization / Team / Troop
|| An official team or group of people with a common goal or purpose.
| 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.
| Player Character
|| The character controlled by the player.
| Quest Giver
|| Quest givers provide quests for the player.
| Random Encounter
|| An enemy or non-player character that occurs sporadically and at random.
| Shop Keeper / Merchant
|| A business owner.
|| 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.
| Vehicle / Mount
|| An animal or mobile machine that transports passengers or cargo.
"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?
| Inanimate objects / Things
|| Objects, items, buildings, etc that act as a backdrop or general resource/material.
| Insubstantial NPCs
|| Characters with whom you do not interact with in a meaningful way; Essentially any character that exists as background clutter or for the sake of giving the world a sense of habitation. For RPGs, that means all those random people you can only talk to.
| Real Life Persona
|| For legal reasons we cannot include any real life people. Deceased historical figures are allowed however.
|| The place or time a game is set within.
|| Attributes such as strength, agility, intelligence, etc.
Special Character Rules
Characters are grouped or separated based on whether or not they are the same person/thing/entity. For Example:
- Link and his wolf form are lumped together on one entry. That is because Link is the same person regardless if he is in his elf or wolf form.
- Dark Link has his own entry because despite looking exactly like Link, he is actually a doppelgänger.
Many character types exist that pose a dilemma when it comes to submitting them. For management purposes and consistency we have tried to lay out clear and precise guidelines for each of these tricky character types.
| Generic Characters
| Many games feature the same generic characters, particularly animals. We do not need a new "wolf" entry for every RPG that has one as an enemy. To avoid clutter create one entry and a version for every game it appears in. This rule applies to all character types, including race/class.
| Deer, Cyclops, Dragon
| Some characters may undergo a drastic change in appearance or ability, either through a metamorphosis of some kind or dimorphism, such as young and adult variations. For these create one entry and a version for every game each form appears in.
| Transformation: Pichu into Pikachu
Dimorphism: Jaggi and Great Jaggi
| 1 Body, Multiple Entities/Alter Egos
| Some characters may share a single body with multiple heads or have a distinct alter ego. Only create separate entries for each if there are distinct, noteworthy individuals - the fact that they share a single body is irrelevant.
| Alter Ego: Sheogorath/Jyggalag
Sharing a Body: Jackie Estacado/The Darkness
| Unseen Characters
| Some characters are never seen on screen, but still play an integral role in the game, such as leaving behind Audio logs, clues, or providing vital support directly to the player. Despite their physical absence in the game we still include these characters in the database.
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
Every character should have at least one version attached to it. Note: you may come across characters with no versions. These are from the very early days of VGG (early 2010) before characters had versions. Please report any you find to an admin.
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.