In other words, a textbook Self-Insertion.
NO, WAIT, I WAS JUST KIDDING, I WAS KID- ~slap~
Let's see here... let me analyze the cast.
Golem was the central character of Party Goers, and most of the spin-offs, and, I think, it's safe to say that without him, there'd have been no On-Going Forum. And I think this is because he was the epitome of what the series was really about: A bunch of imaginative fanboys inserting their idealized selves into a world of their fantasies.
Golem IS fanboyism. He's a kid wearing a Dr. Who scarf, a Mario cap, and named after a Pokemon. And he lives in a world where he gets to emulate all of his heroes, while rubbing-elbows with other characters who are just like him. They say in dreams, every character is just another facet of you. I think every single major character in Party Goers was just another version of Golem, every last one of us, floating in orbit around the central Golem, bouncing off of each other. His only goal was to have a party, which is, after all, just a flimsy pretext for having fun with other people, isn't it?
Nintenfreak / Big Al
Appearing a bit later in the series was Nintenfreak. I always thought, In the Party Goers universe, if Golem was Player 1, Nintenfreak was Player 2. He was the Luigi to Golem's Mario, the Ferb to Golem's Phineas. Not the main protagonist, but a surrogate who could be relied on to fill any role in any scene. You needed someone for a quirky, goofy conversation, or a kooky bit of action, you used Nintenfreak. Like a background character on a show who gets lines, then more lines, then becomes a major character, Nintenfreak started out as a convenience and made himself an essential. It was like it was his job
, like he collected a paycheck each week for helping complete scenes. Then, like Luigi, he got his own unique character development, his own name ("Big Al"), his own distinct appearance. Considering that Al may go on to be a comic book author with his own wacky series, it may just be that Big Al is the character out of the series that will live on longer than any other member of the cast.
Vorpal was always, secretly, my guilty pleasure, I think. I think I enjoyed writing him more than any other character, because I had a clear idea of what to do with him. Out of the whole cast, I think Vorpal was the one who might've stepped right out of some Saturday morning cartoon (probably the Fox Box). He's your classic Villain With An F In Evil - delightfully grandiose, cheerfully oblivious, easily distracted, childishly innocent, and about as dangerous as a sack of flour. He fell into power - put him at the wheel of a powerful spacecraft, and he'd be listening to folk music on the radio. Give him a powerful superlaser and he'd draw a smiley-face on the moon. Make him the President and he'd be way more fun than anything you saw on CNN. And before it was all over, he'd probably be just about as responsible for saving the day as the heroes. I think, though, maybe that was just me - other people managed to use him for genuine pathos, spirituality, and thoughtfulness, something I never quite managed, always relegating him to Champion Comic Relief. If I weakened the character, I'm sorry.
See the posts above. A robotic Dick Dastardly. An all-purpose deus ex machina (no pun intended) and reliable go-to guy when a story needed some menace, exposition, a new development, or just a villain. Not much more to add.
Luigi of the Pipes
Luigi may go down in history as one of the best side characters of all online-literary history. Of the Three Stooges, he was Larry - understated, yet essential. Luigi was a cosmic plaything. It's like he was cursed, and he was well aware of it. Whatever role he was in, he was over-qualified. Like Marvin the Paranoid Android, Luigi's core character was that he always made for greater things than he was given. Look at his name: He's named for Luigi, the understated and underused Mario Brother. You got the feeling he could've been the hero of Super Mario Bros. but was five minutes late for the audition and it wasn't his fault. "Of the Pipes." That's like saying "From the sewers." Sure, he was a Jedi, but he was the Jedi back at base, cleaning the toilets while Luke and Han were blowing up the Death Star. He was frustrated, disrespected, but persistent. He wasn't just a failure, he was the Patron Saint of Failures.
That's a unique role.
I... never really understood GORE. I don't think, in my five-year career of writing, I ever gave him a single line. I had no idea where this guy was coming from, or what to do with him. Maybe because I never really got to know his author. For that, I think I owe an apology. Having read what others have written about him, though, I think I'm starting to get it a little.
If you asked most people who Ditto's evil counterpart was, they'd say Dark Ditto, but I'd say they were wrong. Dark Ditto was a foil, but on a psychological level, I think the real
evil counterpart was Masamune. I say this because the past few analyses of Masamune (the character) were right on the mark. He was, at core, a narcisstic thrill-seeker, an unpredictable agent of chaos, and a chewer of scenery, but a genuine menace and a sincere antagonist - the Yosemite Sam to Vorpal's loveable Elmer Fudd. In this way, he was much like Ditto, except for the other side. He even had his
own foil, Murasame. He was also, I think, the series' most consistent character.
I have a crazy theory that this is because Masa (the writer) and I were drawing water from the same creative well. If I had to guess, I honestly suspect this is a case of two people who grew up watching Gargoyles and were fans of Puck, the scene-stealing trickster, and wanted to do someone like that, but taking them in two different directions. But it's just a theory. I could be wrong.
Ditto's character has already been perfectly summed up in the other posts, so there's nothing for me to add there. The only new insight I have to offer on the character would be his behind-the-scenes development notes.
Ditto McCloaker was born in an empty Computer Lab on a College campus one summer afternoon after a summer-credit Statistics class. That summer, in that room, I discovered the Internet for the first time, which had the odd effect of reviving my old childhood fascination with video games - I was amazed at this new innovation called a "Search Engine" and I needed something to search FOR, and that came to mind. That brought me to Neglected Characters, and then VGF.com, and from there to the OG Board.
Every afternoon, after class, I'd spend hours there, reading OGs, and in particular, bringing myself up to speed with Party Goers, which was already several iterations in. When at last I caught up to the present story, I wanted to know what happened next so bad I was willing to write it myself, if I had to. I had absolutely no idea what to write, though, but I recall the scene was a cliff-hanger, and in need of someone to swoop in to save the day, so I provided one. I had a hundred ideas of favorite characters who could've done it (Mario, etc.), and wrote the scene a dozen different ways.
At last, tired, I decided to just take my favorite lines from each version, and combine them all into one character who could be all the other characters as needed. It so happened that I had another window open at the time - a Super Mario encyclopedia - the current entry was on SMRPG bosses: Domino and Cloaker. The character was two seconds away from being Domino Cloaker but that just sounded stupid. I substituted the shape-shifting Pokemon for this shape-shifting plot device. It rolled off the tongue better. He had to have someone to talk to, and a way to transform. There was a Flying ? Block sprite somewhere on the page, so I killed two birds with one stone. Guisseppie was just one of my favorite names, one I gave to lots of characters when I made up play worlds as a kid.
The rest was history.
About the character I have little else to add. My version of the character was killed off in a scene meant to finish him - taking a blast from an unseen assailant for the rest of the cast, lifted onto Guisseppie and carried off to the Ditto Domain, which sank beneath the waves to some Valhalla for OG characters. Somehow, nobody ever saw it - maybe a technical glitch by the VGF forums. No doubt for the best. It was a gaudy death by an inferior writer. You guys, instead, rescued him from the trash heap and ran with him, expanding on him magnificently. I'm not just flattering you guys - you were the ones who flattered me, and I thank you.