Technology

Excel spreadsheets turned into video game

Arena.Xlsm screenshot
Image caption The game sits inside an Excel spreadsheet

A Canadian accountant has managed to create a basic video game using only Excel spreadsheets.

The game, called Arena.Xlsm, is a turn-based fantasy game in which players fight monsters and gather loot to make their character more powerful.

Much of Arena is regenerated every time the game is played to lend variety to the way it is completed.

It was created using macros - simple programs and shortcuts that users create to speed up use of the program.

Chartered accountant Cary Walkin built the game during the spare time he had while studying for an MBA in Toronto.

In the game, players take on a series of increasingly tough enemies in an arena drawn using only the basic characters and punctuation marks available in Excel. Defeating enemies such as anacondas, black widow spiders and hyenas bestows fame points.

As a player builds up fame points they go up levels and get points to spend to boost the fighting abilities of their character.

The story framing the game is presented to the player in a series of letters. The ending for each game is chosen randomly from four potential conclusions.

Mr Walkin said it took about four months to create the game which has about 2,000 possible enemies, eight tough encounters with bosses and lots of different items players can gather to boost their fighting or defensive abilities.

The game is designed to work with Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013. It does not work on Mac versions of the spreadsheet program.

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