So you want to make an anime about people playing games. Not to be confused with Anime Adaptations of games.
Creating The GameBefore you start writing the story for your anime, you have to create the game the characters are going to be playing. Establish the rules, exceptions, and overall format of the game. Once you have an idea how the game is played, then ask yourself: Would anyone actually play this game? More importantly, would anyone actually 'watch' anyone play this game? If the game doesn't look fun, then your audience won't believe anyone in the series would want to play it and they certainly wouldn't want to watch your characters play the game. Really take some time to tweak the mechanics in the same way a real game designer would.
Or you can use an existing game. Such as Go, Chess, Mahjong, poker, etc...
The WorldFinally, once you have an idea for a game that seems exciting to play, you can then begin to write the setting it exists in. Every story takes place in some kind of world, so think about how your game has impacted this world.
Popularity: How many people are playing this game? Is it a super popular smash hit that everyone plays or is it only a niche thing kids are into? Is there some kind of competitive league for the game?
Meta game: What strategies are effective and common and what strategies are weak and underused?
History: How long has this game been out? How has it evolved over the years and are people happy with the game has changed?
- To Be a Master - The protagonist should always be aiming to be the master of his chosen game.
- Absurdly High-Stakes Game - Players will act as losing a game is the most depressing thing in the world. Some players will cheat, blackmail, kidnap, and maybe even murder to win.
- Mundane Made Awesome - The game while mundane in a real life setting for some reason this world makes playing the game as important as any.
Choices, ChoicesIn regards to the genre you have to pick a game or genre of game to focus on. Yes, your protagonist can try to be the best of every game they come across, but you need to keep the story focused. Typically the games that work best are games where two opponents face head to head and is skill based.
- Card Games - The standard for many game based Anime. Benefits range from being able to produce the game in real life for cheap.
- Board Games - Equivalent to sports animes. Typically the hero is trying to become a grandmaster of chess or another commmon board game.
- Tabletop Games - Rarely used as most Tabletop Games are multiple players. But competitive tabletop gaming does exist in real life.
- Video Games - Not as popular as Card Games. Most of the times the game doesn't exist in real life.
- Insane Troll Logic - Its tough trying to come up with plots for why a game is so important.
Suggested Themes and Aesops
Set Designer / Location Scout
- Anime Hair - It's not an anime without your protagonist having a unique and colorful hair style.
- Hero can be Adorkable, The Ace, Audience Surrogate, Badass Normal, Weak, but Skilled, and Nice Guy. They should never cheat and be able to overcome the obstacles of the game through cunning.
- The Rival who should be on par with the Hero, but not necessarily evil. Eventually they may even become friends.
Stunt DepartmentThe best wins often end with a Finishing Move.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! - Where a card game is based on Ancient Egypt magic and players regularly kidnap people in order to win.
- Beyblade - Battle tops anime.
- Accel World - Video game anime, where kids fight each other in online matches. If a players score is high enough they can spend points on speeding up their minds in real life. If their score reaches zero, knowledge of the game is erased from their mind and the game is permanently uninstalled.