Arena.Xlsm is a video game built inside Microsoft Excel, work has never been so much fun

Arena XLism Screenshot

Some employers monitor work computers for unnecessary software, which means you can’t install games and play them at work. But what if you could play a game using software they already have installed?

Cary Walkin, an accountant and aspiring developer, created an entire turn-based RPG that can be played in a spreadsheet. Thanks to the use of various spreadsheet software features and macros, Walkin was able to completely design a working video game.

It’s called Arena.Xlsm, and it follows a main hero as he fights his way through an emperor’s arena of monsters. Think Gladiator, only with enemies like bunnies, bees, vampires, ghosts and dragons.

Walkin created the entire game using Microsoft Excel. During a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session he said that his extensive use of Excel as an accountant, supplied him with most of the knowledge required to develop the game.

“There is an old adage that underneath every RPG is a massive spreadsheet, so now the massive spreadsheet IS the RPG!”

Arena XLsm GameplayThe game isn’t exactly the most visually appealing masterpiece ever created, but that’s okay. It serves its purpose extremely well. As with any standard RPG you can level your character, collect loot, fend off enemies and take down notable bosses using both melee and ranged attacks. You can also use magical spells, which is something that’s practically necessary in modern RPGs.

The hero is represented by a simple smiley face, while enemies are presented as a pair of brackets or parenthesis.

Despite being entirely developed with spreadsheet software, the game is pretty complex. Players can collect and equip a wide range of weapons from slingshots, and rifles all the way to bowling balls and brass knuckles.

It also features a pretty colorful array of characters from various fictional universes like Alex Trevelyan, Bond’s rival who appeared in Goldeneye.

Be sure to check out the source link for more information on Arena.Xlsm, or to download the game. (You will have to allow macros to be enabled in the spreadsheet.) The only downside is that it involves quite a bit of clicking to play, but at least you’ll look busy when you’re really slaying dragons during your downtime at work.

Anyone interested in the game can grab it from the link below:

Arena.Xlsm homepage

[Thanks WildCat, via Cary Walkin, Ars Technica]

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