The Elder Scrolls I: Arena is an epic fantasy open world action role-playing video game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks and released in 1994 for MS-DOS. It is the first game in The Elder Scrolls series.
The game is played from a first-person perspective. Melee combat is performed by right-clicking the mouse and dragging the cursor across the screen to attack as if swinging a weapon. Magic is used by cycling through a menu found by clicking the appropriate button on the main game screen, then clicking the spell to be used, and its target. At around 6 million square kilometers, the game world is considerably larger than that of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, IV: Oblivion and V: Skyrim.
This is achieved by combining randomly generated content and specifically designed world spaces to create a realistic and massive wilderness, where one may find inns, farms, small towns, dungeons, and other places of interest. The towns contain developer-designed buildings and shops, but the order in which these appear and their names are randomized. There are several hundred dungeons and 17 specially designed dungeons for the main quest. Unlike later instalments in the series, Arena has no set overworld (the wilderness constantly generates), so the player must use the quick travel feature to get from one area of the world to another; it also takes a long time to walk from place to place due to the size of the world, which means walking to a nearby town could frequently take ten hours of real time and walking to distant areas could take several days. Arena is notable for being one of the first games to feature a realistic day/night cycle, where at sunset shops close and people clear the streets before the monsters arrive and roam around until morning. This soon became a staple feature of most open-world games.
- Arena is notable for being one of the first games to feature a realistic day/night cycle.
- In addition to the main quest which is completed by beating all seventeen dungeons and finding pieces of the staff, small side quests also appear.
- Arena has been noted for its tendency to be unforgiving towards new players.