Self Insert Characters: Good or Bad?

Self inserts are characters in a fictional medium that are obviously based on the creator(s). Should

  • Yes, always. The creator can do whatever they want. It's their work.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes, as long as they are done well and good characters for other reasons besides being the creator.

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • Yes. ( Other reasons, explain below)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sometimes. (Explain below.)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, since most of them are glaringly obvious and don't fit in the setting and tone of the work.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, because they are lazy design and/or inherently narcissistic.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No. (Other reasons, explain below.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    2

Ryzler

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As with almost every question on this forum: Depends on the game.


The game I've been working on for the past year and half is being made for two simple reasons:


1) First, as I discovered after simple curiosity, I love using the RPGM software and designing things. I've always been a creator and story teller, but it's more than that. The software is fun and interactive, engaging, and even a little challenging at times. When I can't handle the world or other people, I can load up RPGM and revel in logic handling and the numbers. It's a world where everything makes sense to me.


2) After play testing this current game, I realized I enjoyed it. I really enjoy play testing it. After about a year I decided to ask my wife to play test and she agreed to give it a go sometime. After she brought it up a few days later I let her play (that was not supposed to sound that way, I promise!!!). Turns out she enjoys play testing it too. It's something we do together. Just messing around, sometimes challening here to overcome puzzles I've made, customizing our characters in different ways, selecting party members. It's fun for both of us.


So yeah, I made some of our friends and family to be characters in our game. And, a lot of people will hate me for this, but the two main characters in my game are my wife and I. Why? Because it's our game. It's what we do. In some AAA games you use a character creator and what not. No need, since we've made our characters in the software. Now I take our characters and put them into stories. Twist them into their own characters so that they're not just pixel sprites of ourselves. They're named after us, look like us, share basic information such as birthdays and favourite colours and favourite animals, use classes that we most commonly play in RPGS, even their basic personality is based off of my wife and myself. Every character has four outfits, my wife's character's outfits are fantasy versions of her favourite articles from her wardrobe. My character's outfits are of two different types; two battle ready (light to medium armor) sets with short hair (hair styled based off when I first met my wife), on outfit with lighter clothes and tied back hair, that just slightly hints what I look like in my favourite dress, and finally a very lightly armored (but still armored) outfit variant that has long messy hair and looks I do after I get lost in my computer for almost a week without sleep. BUT then I add on top of that. The characters are based on me, very closely at times, but are not entirely the same as me. I'm not a hero. I play games to be more than me, to escape, so the characters have to be more than us.


It depends on the game! It depends on what you do with them! Even as a MC, they can be great. Even in a small cameo role they can be terrible. If you want to insert yourself as the MC then you need to bring more to the table than a social-inept and terrified programmer with a thousand different bad puns for every situation (me). You start with the seemingly useless programmer and turns them into more. So, as someone who is not very good with people, my character is a shut away (like myself). His old rival who crops up throughout the game basically seems like a bully who my character is able to stand up to. As you go through the game you learn that the rival's bullying and taunting pushed him out into the world and turned from a socially anxious mess into a very capable assassin. I'm good with numbers and logic is my sanctuary in real life. So my character is the first person to offer hints about the environment, or enemies, or traps, or puzzles. But I didn't give my character my OCD.  Not a carbon copy. Based on me but not actually me. I take my basic elements, strip away the parts that stifle the character (I don't want a game where my character spends an hour lining plates up on the dinner table), then layer on a fully fledged out character.


Has to be done properly. If done properly in small role then people will look at it a simple cameo role. If done properly in a large role then players should not have any clue that the character is based on you, without being told of course.


NOTE: There's a difference between based on you and actually being you.


At the end of the day there are two defining factors to all aspects of game making: Does it fit your game. And is well implemented?
 

Diretooth

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I have an entire written saga where I, as the author/storyteller, appear in the story. Usually, the Storyteller, typically stylized as 'Wolfe', will influence the story through either telling the characters some information that is needed or through a blatant Deus Ex Machina, which is explained as something afforded the Storyteller of a story for one story, especially since said stories are actually happening. (Given that the primary character of the saga is the Avatar of a Death God and the primary antagonist is trying to destroy literally everything in the omniverse, it's a little justified given that the primary antagonist also targets different iterations of the Storyteller at different times.) Usually, it's also a deconstruction of self-insert as well, since the Storyteller is also in some amount of danger and, in at least one case, is corrupted into the primary antagonist's lackey. My most recent such story, which is actually a side story only related to that saga and is for the most part just a side story with some references to that prior saga, actually has two iterations of the same Storyteller, one who has written the saga to completion, and one who has barely started it, leading to a rather... interesting scenario.
 

mogwai

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It's already been said, but if you write from what you know and feel and think, you basically are all the characters in your game. That's how it is for me in my web comics (now underground comics because I deleted my blogs).


It's also already been said, but I like when you insert yourself as an idol or god to make world/universe specific references about the creator (since you actually are to them). That's a fun thing.
 

Diretooth

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I do not like inserting myself in my stories as some omnipotent force. The only time I've done so was as an antagonist seeking to become a god because I/he was corrupted by the big bad.
 

HexMozart88

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Well to be honest, I have Hex over here who's going in my game, and they are based on me, though with a really complicated backstory. They clearly have my personality, but they're only a blacksmith who gets involuntarily turned into a demon. They aren't a very big part of the story at all. It also makes sense because they're a demon, and my game has a kingdom with animal-eared people so most of the town assumes them to be part bull or something. But, yeah, I don't usually like making my characters godlike beings or what have you. They'd only be a cameo. However, the vast majority of my characters have big chunks of my personality in them and everyone says, "That is clearly you." So, I really don't have a problem, but godlike beings are kind of done to death.  
 

BrandedTales

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I said "yes if done well.". I think it's fine.  As the creator, you ultimately control the game and have the But in all reality, most of the time they aren't done well.  We have little inside stories and quirks that mean something to us because we've dealt with them for years... to an outsider, these details may not be significant or interesting.  


Although I truly believe good fiction is character driven, we also should have characters suited to the situation, and inserting yourself into the story might be shoehorning a character in that doesn't fit.
 

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