Total recall is another too, its so common it has a TV tropes page and wing commander 3 is actually listed lol under a sub page. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ManchurianAgentOh, that's one example. Very clichéd indeed.
As for the rest - ok, whatever . If you're going to insist on using your own special definition of "McGuffin", there's no point in discussing the details of one character or another.
Im just using the definition of what it is. vagabond is used as a plot device in 2 very basic roles to elicit response and to move the story, do not forget if you fail that mission the game ends so it is essential to the plot,
The MacGuffin technique is common in films, especially thrillers. Usually the MacGuffin is the central focus of the film in the first act, and thereafter declines in importance. It may re-appear at the climax of the story, but sometimes is actually forgotten by the end of the story. Multiple MacGuffins are sometimes derisively identified as plot coupons. vagabond is central to the plot in act 1 as you have pointed out, to the pt where you lose the game if you fail his mission but than he is hardly ever brought up again. his plot device was to get the COMM traffic and nothing more except to die
but you are right back to the original topic