Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Unique Excel Uses: Video Game

We’ve seen some very unique Excel uses in the past but this just might be the best (or most fun) application: Excel as a video game! Cary Walkin, a Canadian accountant, has transformed a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into a playable video game. Arena.xlsm is a turn-based fantasy role playing game where the goal is to collect loot to become more powerful all the while warding off increasingly difficult  monsters. In fact, there are currently over 2000 possible enemies with different AI abilities. Sounds complex! Remarkably, it only took Cary four months to completely program this game.

arena xlsm excel as video game


Cary has received a lot or press and attention since creating his Excel game. Recently, he was featured on one of Reddit’s “I Am A” features. A few quotes from Cary:

“I'm an accountant by profession, I use excel every day of my life. I simply worked with what I knew. Also there is an old adage that underneath every RPG is a massive spreadsheet, so now the massive spreadsheet IS the RPG!”

“...a number of calculations are dependent on the background colour of a cell (such as if you are standing on fire).”

“Never stop learning.”


Read the entire interview feature here. Additionally, to see an example of how one would even begin to go about coding this massive gaming macros see Cary’s great VBA tutorial here.

Visit Cary’s site and download Arena XLSM today and try it out for yourself! But be warned, your productivity may decrease greatly after playing a few levels.  Please note you must have macros enabled in order to play the game. Arena.Xlsm will only work in Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013. It will not work in other spreadsheet programs either. Have fun!

-Nick
Of course I’m not playing this at work ;)