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Classic Arcade Games Excel in Spreadsheets

by Paul Strauss

Sure, you could use your copy of Microsoft Excel to create the business model for your next big multi-million dollar venture, or to calculate last month’s sales for your used car dealership, but why not put it to some really good use and play some arcade games with it instead?

Pac Man in Excel

Apparently, programming video games using insanely complex Excel Visual Basic macros is a bit of an art form in Japan. As a matter of fact, everything from Pac-Man to Space Invaders to Missile Command has been recreated with astounding detail using Excel macros.

Missile Command in Excel

Other spreadsheet games include versions of Donkey Kong, Dig Dug and Tetris. All in all, there are literally dozens of arcade classics that can be played in Excel. I’m especially impressed by the version of Arkanoid, complete with mouse and audio support (you don’t even know you’re in Excel when this one plays).

Arkanoid in Excel

To play these games for yourself, just download the game you want from this website. Click on the Japanese links at the top of the page to choose different games. Then extract the .XLS from the archive (you may need something that can open LZH archives for some of these files), enable macros, and run the macro titled “start” or similar. Some of the games are a bit hit or miss due to problems with Japanese characters in the code, but I was able to get quite a few of them to play just fine on my machine. As a matter of fact, I was able to get a number of these games to run in the latest, greatest version of Excel 2007.

Excel Space Invaders

Once you’re up and running you can play all your favorites in between calculating standard deviations and building your loan amortization worksheet.

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Comments (22):

  1. overklokan says:

    those game programers deserve BIG respect … unfortunately, i use Open Office :o((

  2. ts says:

    Open Office FTW!!!!

  3. Wat? says:

    “unfortunately, i use Open Office :o((”

    That is not unfortunate at all imo.

  4. go oo says:

    i use neooffice.. its open office for mac.

  5. MortalWombat says:

    Those are nothing compared to DEX-EV. Go here to download it http://www.vector.co.jp/download/file/winnt/game/fh452052.html
    the page is in all japanese but it should automatically download from that link. It is a Raiden style top-down arcade shooter. Z is shoot, X is shield, and C is to drop a bomb. You WILL die a lot but you have unlimited continues. Enjoy! ^_^

  6. JFlores says:

    I use OOffice so i cant do this at home… :_(

  7. rob says:

    unfortunately i pirated microsoft office 2008
    oh wait

  8. Adam says:

    Wow this is great I never knew that this kind of programming could be done in excell. I rekon they program this stuff at work in there spare time. ttp://www.classicgamesarcade.com has lots of classic games to play on but they are done in flash.

  9. Asghar says:

    Thanks for it

  10. I know this is cheating, but I embed flash games in spreadsheets. So far I’ve made 40 of them, and people love it. I just started doing that so my co-workers wouldn’t get in trouble at work for being on websites playing games instead of working. :)

    You should check them out, they’re at http://www.spreadsheetninja.com

  11. Berzerker says:

    Check out dzikosoft.com for a download list of over 150 excel games.

  12. Ps3 Modern Warfare 2 says:

    It is just good to play in excel arcade claasaics and the Arkanoid is a very good version as it is.

  13. RetroDon says:

    This blows my mind that people can make some of the classic games in excel. Have they made Mr. Do! available in Excel? That was one of THE most fun games of all time from that era.

    Regardless…I guess I have to ask, what is the point? When Flash and Java versions are available, other than to be super geeky….

  14. arcadegamersimon says:

    don’t forget to check out http://www.excelgames.org/ they have quite a range of good old fashioned games

  15. fuck all says:

    all u guys are GEEKS for this lol im dying right now

  16. Pam says:

    hi there how do you pause the game!!!!!!!!!! (ARkanoid)

  17. yong says:

    Hi to everyone, i had a project in my computer class and my professor told us that we need to make a game by using the spreadsheet, and unfortunately i don’t how to do that. I need some help please. Can you please tell me what are the procedures in making a simple game using the spreadsheet. If it possible, I would like those games that had a graphics and moving.

  18. xUSSR says:

    Fortunately, I have still running IBM PC AT386 with MSDOS 6.22, and I play in a natural ARKANOID

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