Gamer Left Behind – Arena.Xlsm Preview

Check out this video of Arena.Xlsm being played by Don at Gamer Left Behind. This is a pretty good walk-through of the early parts of the game. Also the music is super catchy! ūüėÄ


Arena.Xlsm Version 1.2 Preview

Arena.Xlsm version 1.2 is in the works and it is a major content update. Here are some of the main things to look forward to!

New Tiles: Bottomless Pits and Cracked Terrain РBottomless Pits are pits of certain death. You want to avoid these! Cracked Terrain are weak terrain that has cracks in it. This will break and turn into a Bottomless Pit when walked on or shot at. The new terrain is being integrated into the rest of the game in the form of new arenas, new enemy types that take advantage of the terrain, and new spell effects. Here is a sample showing one of the new arenas with new challenges that uses all of the different terrain types in Arena.Xlsm:


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VBA4Play Part 1: Movement and Collision Detection

This is the first part of a new series called VBA4Play. The goal here is to use Arena.Xlsm as a learning tool to get more people to have fun with VBA. Ultimately, what I’d like to do is create new¬†games together with you using the tools that I am going to be writing about in VBA4Play. To that end I want people to come up with their own ideas for games and put them in the comments or experiment with VBA and write some code for a future game. If your code becomes featured on VBA4Play, I may ask that you guest write the article in a step-by-step fashion so that everyone can follow along. I’m going to try to make this feature accessible to beginners so I apologize in advance to those of you who already have coding experience. Hopefully both beginners and advanced VBA users can learn from each other and build something amazing together. To that end, I am only going to guide the discussion, I would like this to be a community project so the power to see where this thing goes is in your hands.

Okay, now let’s get started!

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Arena.Xlsm Version 1.1 Released!

Arena.Xlsm Version 1.1b is now available here: Download Arena.Xlsm


Special thanks to my volunteer testers, and all of you who submitted feedback and bug reports!

Note: There is currently not a way to import your current v1.0 game data into v1.1. I’m working on this feature but it will take time and I didn’t want the Excel 2007 guys to have to wait any longer just to get started!

Patch notes below!

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Wow. This is crazy.

I want to thank all of you for the immense amount of support. As of the time of this writing, this website has received over 150,000 views (since the game was released 5 days ago) and has been featured in some very impressive media outlets all over the world including:¬†–ė–≥—Ä—č@Mail.Ru¬†(Russian), Rock Paper Shotgun, BBC News, Tweakers¬†(Dutch),, Gizmodo, Eurogamer,¬†¬†¬†(Slovak), pikabu¬†(Russian), origo¬†(Hungarian), The Next Web, CNet, and The Escapist. (I’m aware that there are other blogs that have picked this up, thank you!)¬†This is much, much more than I was expecting. I am quite overwhelmed on the time management side of things as I did not anticipate this kind of a reaction. I still have other obligations for my time such as the MBA which I am still expecting to complete in the next month and my volunteer obligations including preparing free tax returns for deaf individuals at Silent Voice.

Silent Voice

As far as the game is concerned, I am trying to keep up on everything. This includes:

  • Reading all of your feedback. I had initially been trying to respond to everything in 24 hours. However due to sheer volume that is no longer a viable option. Please know that if I don’t respond to you I’ve at least read your comment and it has made me smile. This includes comments in a non-English¬†language, I am reading them to the extent that Google Translate can interpret them.
  • Taking part in the discussions of Arena.Xlsm, this includes my twitter @CaryWalkin or #ArenaXlsm, the official wiki, the facebook page, Reddit, and Something Awful (private forum, costs $10).
  • Maintaining the list of volunteer testers. I am absolutely shocked and amazed how many people are willing to volunteer their time to help test this game. I’m pretty sure you are all the best people on the internet.
  • Sticking to the Version 1.1 release schedule. Finding time to actually sit down and code is getting difficult. However, this is my top priority because this is the thing that is keeping me up at night. I need to get all Excel 2007 users playing bug free and I need to fix/balance a few things to improve the experience. I really want this out at some point over the weekend and will be pushing myself to make that happen.

Anyways, thank you for your continued support. Thank you for your patience. Most of all, thank you for playing and I hope that you’re enjoying the experience! ūüôā

Arena.Xlsm Version 1.1 Preview

First and foremost, thank you all so much for the feedback and bug reports! It really helps me nail down issues.

Here are the following top¬†3¬†items I’m looking to address in version 1.1.

  1. The dreaded 1004 run time error. This only appears to impact Excel 2007: Student Edition users (EDIT: not just the student edition but also not all of the editions… thanks for the bug reports, this one is complicated!). I’ve found out what is causing the bug but there is also a cosmetic problem of the blood counter not updating properly for these users in the spreadsheet (it updates fine in the spellbook). This is my top priority so that everyone can play and enjoy the game. To help me with this, I am recruiting tester volunteers who have the Excel 2007: Student Edition (Edit: I am happy to accept volunteer testers with any version of Excel, but please let me know which version you have before you apply). Please send me an e-mail or leave a comment below if you wish to volunteer.
  2. Alec Trevelyan glitch – There is currently a glitch on this encounter where if you exhaust the boss it will continue to respawn indefinitely.
  3. “Of Draining”¬†items are¬†currently overpowered and will be rebalanced. The current plan is to change it from a passive ability to an on-hit ability to bring its power more in-line with other comparable items.

Anyways, that’s what is in the works! I hope to get this out this weekend.¬†Please feel free¬†to post your opinions or suggestions in the comments or you can reach me on¬†twitter¬†@CaryWalkin¬†or by e-mail.


Edited: More bug reports indicated that this may be more widespread than initially thought

Arena.Xlsm Known Bug: 1004 run time error

EDIT: Fixed! Download the latest version of Arena.Xlsm here:

1004 run time error (Unable to set the Text property of the Characters class).

The error pops up as soon as you kill the first enemy.

The error appears to be limited to a few players using Excel 2007, I have identified the code that is causing the problem. I need to test the fix before releasing it. If all goes well, the fix should be released next weekend. In the mean time, as a temporary workaround, if you have access to Excel 2010, you should be able to play the game free of any errors.

Sorry for the delay.

Thanks for your patience.

Cary Walkin

Arena.Xlsm Gallery

The following screenshots have been taken from game play:



Arena-1 Arena-2

v1.2---arena-2b Arena-3

v1.2-arena-3b Arena-4



Spellbook_Default death-screen Enchant-Screen Item-Equip-Screen Letter-1v1.3-Keyboard-Controls




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 ‚ÄúArena (Level 4 Combatant).Xlsm‚ÄĚ 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

Arena.Xlsm Preview: Achievement List Revealed!

To celebrate the upcoming release of Arena.Xlsm, I am now revealing the 36 unlockable achievements within the game. This is a preview of just some of the things you’ll be able to do while playing Arena.Xlsm.