[[quoteright:267:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Elder_Scrolls_-_Arena_001_7168.png]]

->''"The best techniques are passed down by the survivors."''
--> --'''Gaiden Shinji'''

The first video game in Franchise/TheElderScrolls series, released for {{DOS}} in 1994. Originally, it was going to be an ActionGame with {{RPG Elements}}, about gladiatorial combat. However, as development went on, the RPG elements grew more and more, until the arenas themselves were cut out altogether (they are still mentioned in some DummiedOut narration, though.)

The player takes on the role of a member of the Imperial Court of Tamriel. In the opening {{cutscene}} TheEmperor is trapped in another dimension by [[TreacherousAdvisor his most trusted courtier]], the battlemage Jagar Tharn. The evil Tharn then uses magic to disguise himself as the emperor and take his place.

However, he is noticed by both the player character and the lesser sorceress Ria Silmane. Silmane threatens to reveal Tharn's new identity, so Tharn kills her and throws the player into the Imperial dungeons.

However, Silmane appears to the player in his/her dreams, and guides him/her to reassemble the [[CosmicKeystone Staff of Chaos]], a weapon capable of defeating Tharn and rescuing the emperor, but which [[PlotCoupon Tharn has broken into eight pieces and scattered across the Empire]].

That's right, [[NeverTrustATitle there are no arenas in this game]]. At all. However, as if to make up for that, this game is '''huge.''' There really is an entire life-sized continent (12,000,000 square miles - three times larger than Europe!) to wander around in, with hundreds of settlements and thousands of {{NPC}}s.

The game has been released as a freeware download by Bethesda as part of their commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of the inception of Franchise/TheElderScrolls. Get it [[http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Arena:Files here]].

This has also been released in "The Elder Scrolls Anthology" which has all five games, and skips the Dosbox prompt entirely.
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!!This video game provides examples of:

* AbsoluteCleavage: The female enemy mages.
* AlienSky
* AllMythsAreTrue
* AlternativeCalendar: A very elaborate one, complete with holidays and whatnot.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Many creatures.
* ArtifactTitle: The game was originally meant to be about raising a team of gladiators. The basis changed dramatically, but the title was kept, and retconned as a nickname for Tamriel. [[EverythingTryingToKillYou It's a pretty accurate nickname, though.]]
** Specifically, the developers were making a gladiator combat game with side quests into dungeons to get better equipment. However the team quickly fell in love with the side quests that the arena was dropped entirely.
* BigBad: Jagar Tharn.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Randomly-generated {{NPC}}s will sometimes describe conspiracy theories they have about their randomly-generated feudal masters, which tend to be rather humorous. [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Rumour_957.jpg For example.]]
** Can lead to FridgeHorror when talking to {{NPC}}s in the Imperial City, as you can hear [[http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m148/Sky_Prower/Howdyouknow.png the same conspiracy theories]] about the Emperor himself, and since you know for a fact that Jagar Tharn is on the throne right now...
* CrapsackWorld: Where to begin? Ruled by a usurper, monsters and bandits/psychopaths roam the wilderness and cities at night, EVERYONE is racist even towards their own race, failing to pick one lock doesn't take you to prison it's an official death sentence as guards will kill you with no second thought, as well as gossip states that every province has been or will be ravaged by a plague, and the above gossip eventually implying that every ruler in Tamriel is a cannibal. [[note]] though the last two are simply gossip and may not really count [[/note]]
* DismantledMacGuffin: The Staff of Chaos.
* DungeonBypass: The Passwall spell allows you to destroy dungeon walls.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: A lot of the series lore hadn't quite gelled yet, leading to an Elder Scrolls game with completely human-looking [[CatFolk Khajit]], [[AmazingTechnicolorPopulation blue-skinned]] [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Tolkien Orcs]], no mention of the word "Daedra" whatsoever, and a CosmicKeystone artifact that has never been seen again.
** Interestingly, the human-looking Khajiit haven't been retconned out of ''existence'', just out of being common outside their homeland (the Khajiit have a great deal of racial variance based on the phases of the moons).
* EscortMission
* EvilSorcerer: Jagar Tharn, plus some of his {{Mooks}}, plus a few more in the {{Backstory}}.
* FantasticRacism: Rather egregious. You'll often have ethnic insults hurled at you by members of your own race.
* FetchQuest: Loads and loads of them, most of which are thankfully optional.
* FictionalDocument: The titular scrolls.
* FreewareGames: Since 2004.
* HeroicFantasy
* LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards
* {{Magically Inept Fighter}}s: Warriors and Rangers have a high number of HitPoints and a wide range of equipment to choose from but can't cast spells naturally.
* {{Mooks}}
* NeverTrustATitle: This game has no arenas in it, though the continent itself is nicknamed "arena" in an attempt to soften the ArtifactTitle. Also, the Elder Scrolls themselves are a very minor plot element.
* NintendoHard: [[EverythingTryingToKillYou Everything is already trying to kill you]], you'll be lucky to have any gold for your first few dungeons, all crime is a death sentence (instead of being arrested), poisons and disease are far more lethal then future games in the series, and to top it all off, the occasional GameBreakingBug may just finish you off. Good luck, you'll need it.
* OurElvesAreDifferent: Really, there isn't much difference between humans and elves at all.
** Though the High Elves (NPC's in Summurset Isle) still have their brownish golden skin, and Dark Elves (NPC's in Morrowind) still have their brownish black skin.
* OurGoblinsAreDifferent: Our Goblins are GoddamnBats.
* OurOrcsAreDifferent: Our Orcs are dressed like players of American football. Notably, they're a generic enemy and not a playable race as they are in the post-''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' games.
* PlotCoupon: The pieces of the Staff of Chaos.
* RandomlyGeneratedLevels
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Tharn has red eyes, for no readily-explained reason other than that he's '''evil!!''' Later games in the series would explain that he is [[HalfHumanHybrid part Dark Elf]].
* {{Retcon}}: Later games state that the dimension Uriel Septim was trapped in was Mehrune Dagon's Oblivion and that Tharn had been making deals with Mehrunes Dagon for power.
* RuinsForRuinsSake
* RuleOfCool: The title "''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''" itself. One of the developers came up with the name just because he thought it sounded cool--and ''then'' it was decided what the actual Elder Scrolls should be. This is, in fact, how they named ''everything''. Or should that be "thinged everyname"?
** They don't appear, in any form or to any extent, until the fourth game in the franchise. They're not significant to the main plot until the ''fifth.''
*** Well, to be fair, they do play a very ambiguous role in all games, as present lore seems to hint that all player-characters of the series were foretold by the titular scrolls.
** Actually the Queen of Rihad mentioned using an Elder Scroll to locate where the first major dungeon is. Though it's mentioned so offhandedly that it's easy to miss.
* SceneryPorn: It looks rather crude by today's standards, but back in 1994, it was clear why the name Tamriel means "Dawn's Beauty" in Elvish.
* SequelHook: What's up with this Underking we keep hearing about?
* TheEmperor: A benevolent one! Of course, he's not around for most of the game. Most of Tamriel's other emperors have played the trope more straight by necessity, due to the DeadlyDecadentCourt.
* TreacherousAdvisor: Jagar Tharn.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: ''Arena'' sets the Staff of Chaos up to be the CosmicKeystone of Tamriel... and the sequels never mention it again. According to the [=UESPWiki=], it was kept hidden [[http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Staff_of_Chaos somewhere in White Gold Tower]] (that huge tower in the middle of Imperial City in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'').[[note]]Though with a Citation Needed tag attached.[[/note]] [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/imperial-palace Dialog in Arena]] says the staff is destroyed when the Emperor is freed, though this may have been [[RetCon retconned.]]
** Same with General Warhaft, the Emperor's chief military adviser. After this game, the only mention made of him is that he's written two really boring and useless books.
* WideOpenSandbox: A wide, wide, ''wide'' open sandbox.
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