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Psychonauts 2’s Tim Schafer would add RTS mechanics and lore to Microsoft Excel

"Look at those filthy columns. All vertical."

You’ve probably never thought about it while calculating your monthly budget or sifting all the data you sift for that thing you do, but what do the rows think of the columns in Excel?

It’s a question that we won’t claim keeps Double Fine founder Tim Schafer up at night for fear of misrepresenting him, but he’s clearly one of the few to understand its importance. When Microsoft announced at its E3 conference that it had bought Double Fine, Schafer was keen to make a good impression on his new owners, telling head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty that:

“I don’t know what you’ve heard but I am a team player. Whatever you need from Double Fine, we’ll make for you. Halo stuff, Forza stuff… Excel stuff – whatever you want, we are there.”

This got us thinking: what would a game designer add to Microsoft Office’s data management application if given the chance?

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“More backstory,” Schafer told us. “It’s lacking in lore. I really wanna know who these cells are, when they developed. What does A think about B? What does A think about AA? No one’s explored these issues, about the characters’ relationships, or what the rows think about the columns.

“Also I would add RTS mechanics.”

For some fun RTSes: check out the best strategy games on PC

Sounds like an improvement to me. And it’s not even that far-fetched: Excel’s formulae enable users to create games within it – here’s a list of examples, courtesy of Mashable. Microsoft itself has even hidden games in Excel over the years.