Arena.Xlsm Released!

You can now play the full version of Arena.Xlsm!

Official Mirror: Arena.Xlsm hosted on

Download version 1.3 directly here: Arena.Xlsm

Key Features

  • Random enemies: Over 2000 possible enemies with different AI abilities.
  • Random items: 39 item modifiers result in over 1000 possible item combinations and attributes.
  • An interesting story with 4 different endings depending on how the player has played the game.
  • 8 boss encounters, each with their own tactics.
  • 12 pre-programmed arenas followed by procedurally generated maps. Each play-through has its own challenges.
  • 31 Spells. There are many different strategies for success.
  • 20 Unique items. Unique items have special properties and can only drop from specific enemies.
  • 100 Achievements.
  • This is all in a Microsoft Excel workbook.

You can also access the official Arena.Xlsm wiki here:

The Arena.Xlsm photo gallery is here:

What are the system requirements for this game?
Arena.Xlsm has been tested to work on PC versions of Microsoft Excel including Excel 2007, Excel 2010 and Excel 2013. Arena.Xlsm will not work on Mac versions of Microsoft Excel.

When I open the file I can see the screen but nothing happens when I click on buttons.
Arena.Xlsm uses Excel macros to execute the programming for the game. In order to play the game you must enable macros. For detailed instructions see the wiki:

Where can I find additional information on the game including strategies?
Please consult the official Arena.Xlsm wiki at

How can I create a permanent save file so that when I die I go back to that save file rather than dealing with the consequences of death or so that I can transfer a save file from system to system?
It is important to keep in mind that Arena.Xlsm is at its core, an Excel spreadsheet. To make a permanent save file, simply make a copy of the Arena.Xlsm workbook and rename it. Such as “Arena (Level 4 Combatant).Xlsm” Now if you ever die or want to transfer the file, simply open the copy you created to load your saved game.

RPG… does this game have a lot of level grinding?
The leveling system acts primarily as a gatekeeper to gradually introduce new story, enemy types, spells, etc. The amount of kills needed per level should be approximately 3-6 kills regardless of level. Level grind can ruin the pacing of a game so I’ve done my best to keep it to a minimum.

When I try to send version 1.3 over GMail it says that it detected a virus. What gives?
There appears to be a problem with GMail’s virus detection system resulting in a false positive. While I am discussing the issue with Google, I have created an alternate edition of Arena.Xlsm v1.3 which will work with GMail.  The GMail Edition is encrypted and requires the password “arena” to open. You can download the GMail Edition here: Arena.Xlsm GMail Edition.

I have a bug report or feedback, how do I get a hold of you?
I can be reached by:

E-mail: cary (at)
Twitter: @CaryWalkin

  1. Any possibility of tiles for any of the creatures?

    • Hi Zagnut,

      I’m not 100% certain what you mean. If tiles are art portraits, then only in ASCII characters 🙂

    • Andrew
    • March 27th, 2013

    Great game! I have however encountered a bug when fighting Alec Trevelyan. I kill him and he keeps ‘staging his own death’ again and again and again, effectively making him impossible to kill. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Link
    • March 27th, 2013

    Does not appear to be functional in Excel 2011 for Mac.

    • Jonny Paes
    • March 27th, 2013

    This is amazing, congrats man.

    • Hell
    • March 27th, 2013

    You’re a monster in excel! x)

    The excel accusing that I do not own the (‘! MoveUp’, ‘MeeleeAttack’) and others. =(

    How to solve?


    • JC
    • March 27th, 2013

    very interesting game you made, well done…

  2. Great Jobs!
    Greetings from Italy 🙂

    • Black27
    • March 27th, 2013

    Hey, I just wanted to say that this game rocks! I’m really impressed, I didn’t think that excel had this potential. Good work.
    I want to ask you a curiosity: how much time did you spent to develop it?

    • The bulk of the of the programming was done in a 5 month period from October 2012 to February 2012. I then spent a few weeks on the story. The amount of time per day was highly variable depending on my other commitments, on average about 1-2 hours per night with additional time on weekends. Basically if I had enough spare time to watch an episode of Lost, then I had enough spare time to chip away at the game.

      That being said, this probably could have been developed quicker. I was not doing long-term game design planning from the outset as I was just experimenting. As a result of that shortsightedness, a lot of the code had to be rewritten during the earlier stages of development.

      So a rough estimate would be 300 hours programming plus another 50 hours writing/revising the story. Keep in mind, that is an estimate, I did not keep track of my time (shame on me as an accountant…)

  3. Hi Cary

    I really appreciate this game. How creative you are! 🙂
    BTW, can I create a simulation game using Excel?

    • Thanks!

      And yes you can. As part of my undergraduate business decision models class I recall playing with an add-on for excel that ran Monte Carlo simulations (there are a number out on the market, I don’t want to plug a specific one). Anyways that would probably be a pretty good start for a simulation game! Good luck! 🙂

      • Actually, I want to create a car moving simulation, but I don’t know how to start. 😀

  4. Reblogged this on syafiqmanaf and commented:
    Real coders use minimalism tools to make games. Although a basic indeed, ‘kudos’ to him can do such a thing with an excel spreadsheet. Innovative and a tinker. i gonna give this game a GO!

    • Jostie
    • March 28th, 2013

    Cary, you are awesome! This is really funny to play. Just 1 remark. You should try hiding the macro’s from the macro list…. you know what i mean 😉

    • Evgeny
    • March 28th, 2013

    Hi. Can you help me? My Exel 2010 could not define file’s format.
    P.S. Sory for my english. I’m from Russia.

    • Hello my Russian friend! 🙂

      Does this problem still occur if you open Excel 2010 first and then open the file from excel?

        • Evgeny
        • March 28th, 2013


      • Сергей Белясников
      • March 29th, 2013

      Он говорит открой сперва сам Excel, а потом открой файл из Excel =) Помогло?=)

        • Сергей Белясников
        • March 29th, 2013

        Сорри, мне показалось ты не понял=)

    • Emma Hudterson
    • March 28th, 2013

    I empathize. So to all of you who are left out because you can only run Excel for Mac, or OpenOffice, or LibreOffice, or Google Docs, I’m sorry for excluding you. At the end of the day, there is only so much I can do.

    • Почтук
    • March 28th, 2013

    Вот жаль то как, что на чортовом ЗИЛе офис 2003 стоит…

  5. Completely awesome! Thanks a lot man 😀 I think your are the Master of Excel ^^

  6. Hehe, nice one dood, gaming@work and having fun 🙂

    • John
    • March 28th, 2013

    cpy :
    Does not work in Libre Office 4.0.1.

    No it doesn’t. That’s because only Excel has what’s needed to build something like this. The alternatives don’t come close, sorry.

    • Dejn
    • March 28th, 2013

    Very good man..

  7. Evgeny :


    This may be able to fix your problem:

    • notis arx
    • March 28th, 2013

    Great work!!!at lvl 25 boss figth he ressurected 2nd time,how i defeat eric trevelyan?? thanks in regards

  8. I’m glad to see this. I write mathematical models in excel and everybody thinks I’m nuts. At least I’m not the only one.

    • Thomas
    • March 29th, 2013

    carywalkin :Thanks for the bug report. This is a known error and should be fixed by this weekend. See here:

    I identified it too. The only problem is the protected worksheet. Once the sheet is unprotected it worked fine. Good work.

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