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Sir Cameos-a-Lot

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Meet R.O.B — Robotic Omnipresent Buddy.note 
"Hello, I'm Troy McClure! You might remember me from such celebrity funerals as "Andre The Giant, We Hardly Knew Ye" and "Shemp Howard: Today We Mourn A Stooge."
Troy McClure, The Simpsons

Plenty of characters appear in crossovers and cameos. Sometimes, however, a character will have more cameo appearances than otherwise. This is where this trope comes into play. A non-Public Domain Character appears more in crossovers than they do in their own series (assuming they even have a series to begin with).

This trope can easily invoke Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.", Adaptation Displacement and Iconic Character, Forgotten Title. A character might only have one or two titles to their resume, so most people first learn of them from their cameos. Mascots have a good chance of becoming this, especially if they hail from long dead franchises or are not interesting enough to carry a series on their own.

Compare to Wolverine Publicity, for cameos driven by character popularity, Public Domain Character, for those who can cameo freely due to not being owned by anyone, and Continuity Cameo, if this guy's purpose is to establish continuity between different works. Also compare Adam Westing. If someone used to be a major character before being reduced to lots of cameos and hardly anything else, they've been Demoted to Extra.


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  • Greg Leisz got his start touring with John Stewart (formerly of the Kingston Trio) and was a member of the Funky Kings, who only put out one album before breaking up. Since then, he's bounced from band to band, sometimes touring with them and sometimes just recording in the studio. He's credited as a guest musician on hundreds of albums by dozens of different artists.
  • John Mark Painter has just four albums to his name (two as the duo Fleming & John, and an album and EP as a member of Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil), but has played as a studio musician on over a hundred other albums.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus is more known for being Miley Cyrus's dad and his collaboration with Lil Nas than his own music career. To be fair he was a one hit wonder, his big claim to fame before Miley Cyrus's career took off was being "The achy breaky heart guy"

    Video Games 
  • Nintendo:
    • Kirby: Rick, Kine and Coo only appeared as characters in 3 games so far: Dream Land 2, DL3 and Star Allies. But in between them, they also have made many cameos, such as part of Kirby's Stone forms, background cameos, or as collectable icons
    • The Robotic Operating Buddy was released with only two compatible games (Gyromite and Stack-Up) and was swiftly forgotten as the Nintendo Entertainment System took off in popularity. Nowadays, R.O.B. is best known for his cameos in multiple Nintendo games, including his playable appearances in Mario Kart DS and Super Smash Bros..
    • Takamaru from The Mysterious Murasame Castle only appeared in one game of his own in 1986, which was exclusive to Japan and only localized in 2014. In Pikmin 2, the floppy disk of his game appears as one of the treasures, and it kickstarted his career of cameos, like an important role in Captain Rainbow, his own game mode in Samurai Warriors III, a mini-game in Nintendo Land, and small appearances in WarioWare and Super Mario Maker 2. But most appearances are in the Super Smash Bros. series, where his game got content like a Sticker, a Trophy, a Spirit, two music tracks, and he appeared two times as an Assist Trophy; there is a modest, but growing fanbase asking for him to become a playable character in Smash.
    • Lip, the heroine of Panel de Pon, has similarly appeared in just one game of her own that was given the Dolled-Up Installment treatment with characters from Yoshi's Island and released internationally as Tetris Attack, the original game not being brought over until 2020—25 years after its initial release date. Despite that, she has a surprisingly broad range of cameos: Lip not only appears alongside Takamaru in Captain Rainbow, but features as an unlockable costume in Animal Crossing: New Leaf as a reward for the Animal Crossing Puzzle League minigame. Again like Takamaru, it's in Super Smash Bros. where she gets the most representation by far, receiving an item, a music track, a Mii costume, and a spirit to her name (the latter marking the character's first-ever genuine appearance outside of Japan). Like Takamaru, she's picked up a burgeoning group of fans hoping to see her get Promoted to Playable in the Smash series.
    • Due to the first Splatoon's runaway success, the series quickly received a number of crossovers with other Nintendo franchises. By the time Splatoon 2 released, Inklings have been playable in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, got amiibo costumes in Yoshi's Woolly World and Super Mario Maker, DLC costumes in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and a lot of miscellaneous content in the Animal Crossing series (from Splatoon-themed furniture and clothing items, villagers based on the Squid Sisters, to a full-on Splatoon 2 Fishing Tourney in Pocket Camp to celebrate that game's release). That's to say nothing of it becoming a frequent target of Lawyer-Friendly Cameos in anime, manga, and even Western animation.
  • Sega:
    • Alex Kidd: Alex hasn't had a new title for himself since the Mega Drive days. This doesn't stop him from appearing in several titles such as Segagaga, Sega Superstars Tennis, and Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing.
    • Samba de Amigo: Despite there being only one Samba De Amigo, a Mission-Pack Sequel, and a remake, the characters appear or are referenced in many Sega titles.
    • There are only two NiGHTS into Dreams… games (not including remakes and ports). It doesn't stop the game from being referenced in numerous other SEGA games, such as several Sega Superstars games, Sonic Adventure, and Sonic Lost World.
    • Fantasy Zone protagonist Opa Opa has made many many cameos in SEGA games. His first cameo was appearance in Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars, which came out the same year Fantasy Zone released. One of the craziest Opa Opa cameos is a hidden Fantasy Zone mini game in, of all games, Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf for the SEGA Genesis.
  • SNK:
  • Konami:
  • Bandai Namco Entertainment:
  • The Lost Vikings haven't had a game since 1997, but are the most referenced characters across Blizzard's library. Every one of their games from 2004 onward has featured them or a reference to them in some capacity, including some Interplay games like ClayFighter series, as well as becoming playable in Blizzard's crossover MOBA Heroes of the Storm.
  • There are only 3 Darkstalkers games so far (excluding rereleases), but Morrigan Aensland appears a lot in crossovers involving Capcom, such as the Marvel vs. Capcom games, Namco × Capcom, Project × Zone and a few others. Demitri Maximoff is not far behind, but surprisingly, he’s beaten by Felicia, Hsien-Ko, B.B. Hood, Jedah and even Anakaris, despite being the actual main character.
    • Other Darkstalkers who have yet to make a playable appearance in crossovers get this treatment in the background as well, such as Lord Raptor and Jon Talbain.
  • Shovel Knight's eponymous knight made numerous cameo appearances in other works before Plague of Shadows, the first bonus campaign, was even released. Here's the official list of all the appearances he's made.
  • Before Shovel Knight became an indie game poster boy of sorts, Meat Boy was the closest thing to one and has made a number of cameos for some early indie titles like Spelunky, BIT.TRIP, and Desktop Dungeons.
  • And as far as the fairer sex goes, Miriam of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has taken to several outside appearances, namely Kingdom Two Crowns's "Dead Lands Monarches" update, Blasphemous's "Strife & Ruin" update, and as a costume in Wallachia: Reign of Dracula.
  • id Software has the Dopefish, a creature who has appeared in a grand total of one game: Commander Keen Episode IV: Goodbye Galaxy. However the creature has made cameo appearances in a lot of games, both created by Id (or Id properties) and not.
  • Ekoro of the Gal*Gun series was only a starring character in Double Peace, and even then she wasn't playable. She's remembered more often for her Guest Fighter appearances in the Mighty Gunvolt series and Blaster Master Zero, where she's considered on par with Inti Creates' greats.
  • Asagi, who first appeared in Makai Kingdom, as a main character for a future title, only to end up attempting to become the main character for every single successive game all the way up to Disgaea 4. whereupon Nippon Ichi finally threw her a bone and actually released Makai Wars, her actual debut game, 14 years latenote . Even after that, she continues to appear, now officially as a main character in her own game.
  • "The Baz" (formerly known as Zubaz) sort of originated in Street Fighter II... as a character design who didn't make it past the preliminary sketches. Years later, the Two Best Friends Play spinoff series Fighterpedia featured the Baz in an episode all about rejected Street Fighter characters, and the Best Friends Zaibatsu were so taken with The Baz that they adopted him as a mascot of sorts. Then they used their influence (and/or financial support) to get The Baz into as many indie games as they could, getting him guest roles in games like Shovel Knight, Divekick, Indivisible and Petal Crash, as well as cameos in dozens of other titles. Through sheer luck, the Baz even got a major role in Video Game Championship Wrestling.

    Web Animation 
  • In Homestar Runner, the rapper Peacey P is an In-Universe example, who outright calls himself "the best guest rapper in the music biz" and is better known for his guest appearances than for his original songs. When he actually does put out his own album, he features himself as a guest rapper on it.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation