I’m sure I’m not the only one who laughed out loud upon hearing of Ribbon Hero, a game developed by the folks at Microsoft Office Labs with the aim of teaching people how to use the ribbon interface.
When I finally downloaded version 1 of the game a few weeks later, I was disappointed. I had actually believed the marketing hype. Playing RH1 felt more like completing a to-do list than having fun. The major spur towards my completing it was the release of version 2. Grudgingly, I became a Ribbon Hero in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as attested by the screenshot below:
Ribbon Hero 2, Clippy’s Second Chance is an entirely different experience altogether! In RH2, players time-travel with the erstwhile office assistant as they complete challenges in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, picking up random facts about the various eras visited. It feels more like a game, with levels being unlocked upon attaining a certain number of points. Another improvement was in the graphics: they are much nicer to look at in version 2. Overall, RH2 is a great improvement over version 1, not least in that the marketing hype of version 1 was actually fulfilled in version 2.
In the summary of my performance above, you can see that I used hints on one of the Ancient Greece challenges—an orange circle is missing. I didn’t have to complete all the challenges (blank circles) because I already had the 50,000 points I needed to complete the game. I also racked up 392 bonus points. These are awarded for using functions such as text formatting (bold, italics, using the format painter, applying header styles, etc) in the course of normal use of an Office program. I clearly recall getting points for my 20th and 50th format style (it kept count across sessions), and for inserting a page break—the program would freeze for a second or two at those moments. The ways of gaining bonus points are hidden, so I’m sure many more can be found.