Meet Arena.Xlsm, an RPG You Can Play in Excel

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In this age of superpowered gaming PCs and next-gen consoles, it’s easy for some modern video games to get too caught up in their graphical power and technical prowess. Sometimes it’s nice to tone things down a notch.

Arena.XlsmArena.Xlsm may be as toned down as it gets. The recently released turn-based RPG was created by Cary Walkin, a Toronto-based accountant and MBA candidate, and takes place entirely in Microsoft Excel. Yes, that Microsoft Excel.

While Arena.Xlsm isn’t quite the first game to run in Microsoft’s spreadsheet maker, it has to be one of the most in-depth given its technical limitations. It doesn’t look pretty, of course, but it features more than 2,000 random enemies to fight, eight boss battles and even four different endings. It’s got all the classic RPG characteristics – players can level up, cast spells, strike with both melee and ranged weaponry, use more than 1,000 possible items combinations – and even throws in more modern traits like achievements too.

It’ll take a bit of imagination — all enemies are represented by a pair of brackets, while the hero is just a smiley face — but that’s just part of its simplistic aesthetic. The game should function fine in Office 2007, 2010 and 2013, though it won’t work on Mac.

But if nothing else, it’s free. Those interested can find a link to download Arena.Xlsm here, while more info can be found at the game’s wiki.


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