Retro gaming part 1 – The Elder Scrolls: Arena


These days, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is all the rave, and it does look like an awesome game. I’ve briefly tried out Morrowind back in the day, but not enough to really remember anything from it.

I’ve decided that I want to try Skyrim at some point. I’m perfectly sure it is a complete standalone installment in the series, but then again… Why not get familiar with the game-world by playing it’s predecessors first?

  • A proper waste of time? ✓
  • An endeavor that will take months and months, if only playing a little now and then? ✓
  • Great fun? ✓

With this in mind, I better get crackin’.

The games

Bethesda Softworks has released the first two Elder Scrolls games as free downloads from their website. They are both targeted for MS-DOS so to play them on my mac, they have to run in DOSBox. So far I’ve only gone ahead with Arena, but it seems to run without error on DOSBox.

Cover art from Wikipedia.


Getting over the grueling 17 year old graphics and interface takes a bit of patience and playing the game without a manual or other instructions does provide some initial frustrations. Luckily some guy was awesome enough to put this online: The Elder Scrolls Arena Player’s Guide, so it wasn’t entirely impossible to figure out, how to get started.

From what I’ve gathered so far, the main quest revolves around finding eight pieces of The Staff of Chaos. When found the staff can be resembled and used to defeat the evil wizard who has taken the kings place, and bring back the true kind from another dimension. Good stuff.

So far I’ve only found the first two pieces, but I’m firmly determined to play the game through. No matter if it will take close to – forever.

Let’s see if I ever get to Skyrim.