Bored accountant creates complex game in Excel

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In a move showcasing that necessity is indeed the mother of invention , an accountant, Cary Walkin ,  has built from scratch a game that can be played in the ubiquitous Microsoft Excel software. The click driven game bypasses most security measures that ensure games are not installed on office computers and ii’s layout will pass most cursory looks by managers and office gossips.

The game, called Arena.Xlsm, is a turn-based RPG encompassed entirely in an Excel file. Users can download that and use it to progress through levels, collect items, and battle enemies and bosses with melee and ranged attacks as well as spells. Arena.Xlsm uses Excel macros to execute the programming for the game. In order to play the game you must enable macros.

While the game isn’t a beauty to look at—the hero is represented by a smiley face and all enemies are all bracket-parenthesis pairs—it’s fairly complex for, well, a spreadsheet. Attacks include a range of damage-inducing and healing spells that players buy and use with “blood,” which regenerates with each turn. Players also find and can equip a range of weapons, including rocks, slingshots, bowling balls, rifles, ninja stars, and brass knuckles.

The story in Arena.Xlsm comes from a series of letters from the outside world. The story integrates the narrative as well as the tutorial as the player proceeds through the game. The letters are gradually introduced to the player as you level up and defeat bosses. There are also 4 different endings depending on how the player has played the game.

The game also engages in some light borrowing of characters and elements from other fictional universes. Players start off fighting bunnies and bees but quickly progress to vampires, ghosts, and dragons. The need to physically click on arrows to navigate around the screen can be a little bit cumbersome, but if your job is most easily simulated by a lot of clicking, your cubicle-mates may never notice a difference.

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