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  (Source: theatlantic.com)

  (Source: Getty Images)
Clippy appears in its own game, which aims to help users navigate Microsoft Office

The annoying -- I mean, animated -- paper clip that used to appear in Microsoft Office as an assistant in the late 90's to early 2000's is making a comeback after countless customers and even Microsoft employees contributed to its demise. 

The Office Assistant was a tool that helped Microsoft Office users navigate the associated software by way of an animated character. In the English Windows version, the default character was a paperclip named Clippit, or Clippy for short. Clippy was designed by Kevan J. Atteberry, and was initially featured in Office 97. 

As users worked in Microsoft Office programs like Word and Excel, Clippy would randomly pop out of the corner making eerily cheerful and obvious statements, and then offering its help. For instance, a user would type the word "Dear" in Microsoft Word, and Clippy would say, "It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?"

This did not go over well with many Microsoft users, and even Microsoft employees. Clippy was described as an annoying feature that hindered rather than helped document development. Smithsonian even named Clippy "one of the worst software design blunders in the annals of computing."

As a result of such criticism, Bill Gates retired Clippy as a default feature in 2001. Microsoft employees even made an ad campaign saying they put him out of work. By 2007, Clippy was eliminated from Microsoft Office entirely. 

Now, Clippy dares to show its face around Microsoft Office again in a new game. The game is called "Ribbon Hero 2: Clippy's Second Chance," and it is designed to help users learn how to navigate Microsoft Office. 

The good news is that Clippy is sticking exclusively to the game, and will not appear out of the corner of Microsoft Office programs. 

"Yes, we turned Office into a game!" said Microsoft in its description of the new game. "If you're going to spend time immersed in the inner workings of Office, by golly it should be fun. In Ribbon Hero 2, you'll hop on board Clippy's stolen time machine and explore different time periods. With each time period, you get to explore a new game board with challenges you must complete to get to the next level."

Criticism is already beginning to circulate, but not so much about the game itself. Rather, Microsoft's language in describing the new game has drawn such attention. 

"Here is a question I wish I could answer," said James Fallows from The Atlantic. "Is this Microsoft tone genuinely corny-earnest, reflecting the kind of middle school pep rally sensibility that you can only imagine Apple hipsters sneering and snickering at (making you want to punch the hipsters) and Google engineers looking at in amazement? Or is it triple-backflip hipsterism itself, an Onionesque by-golly mockery of corniness? I suppose this is one of the enduring mysteries of life."

"Ribbon Hero 2: Clippy's Second Chance" can be downloaded for free here.


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Clippy:
By Marlonsm on 5/2/2011 10:44:38 AM , Rating: 5
"It seems you were trying to get some work done. Would you like to play a game?"




RE: Clippy:
By GulWestfale on 5/2/11, Rating: -1
RE: Clippy:
By B3an on 5/2/11, Rating: -1
RE: Clippy:
By Smilin on 5/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Clippy:
By aegisofrime on 5/2/2011 12:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
Look, if it wasn't Bin Laden, they won't have said so. If Bin Laden was still alive, all he would have to do would be to release another videotape saying, "Haha I'm still alive muahaha!" and it would be a freaking huge embarrassment to the US Government.


RE: Clippy:
By GulWestfale on 5/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Clippy:
By retrospooty on 5/2/2011 1:06:38 PM , Rating: 1
"i would have preferred a live capture"

There is no way they could have done that... If he were imprisoned, it would sparc every Al Queda and Al Queda wannabe to start suicide bombings demanding his release. It would be a terrrorist rally cry, inciting violence like never before. They had to kill him, and I wouldnt be at all surprised if that was the order. - Good job by the Seals, and the descision makers behind them.


RE: Clippy:
By torpor on 5/2/2011 3:17:07 PM , Rating: 1
Besides, those dipsh**s in the admin would read him Miranda rights and try to stage a "trial" somewhere in the lower 57.

You know it's true - this is the only way it should have ended. A JDAM isn't good enough for him - the only cure for bin Laden is a nickel's worth of lead fired by a trained SEAL.

(trained SEAL being an example of massive irony, not disrepect - these men have huge training...)


RE: Clippy:
By retrospooty on 5/2/2011 7:49:29 PM , Rating: 2
"Besides, those dipsh**s in the admin would read him Miranda rights and try to stage a "trial""

You mean the dipsh**s that were watching this house for months and once confirmation came last week ordered the raid that got the job done? I am not sure what you mean by dipshits. This was a job well done.


RE: Clippy:
By Iaiken on 5/2/2011 11:43:51 AM , Rating: 2
The only pictures currently circulating are uncreative photochops.

http://deskofbrian.com/wp-content/uploads/dead-bin...

It's been confirmed using DNA from his immediate family, but there are always going to be people who think it's some grand conspiracy.


RE: Clippy:
By ApfDaMan on 5/2/2011 11:47:37 AM , Rating: 2
i could do a better job in MS paint.


RE: Clippy:
By joedon3 on 5/2/2011 12:11:51 PM , Rating: 3
apparently you don't follow the news. They did extensive testing, biometric scans, and now DNA to confirm his identity. They also took lots of pictures and videos. I'm sure the military's priority wasn't to post them on youtube....


RE: Clippy:
By kleinma on 5/2/2011 1:17:47 PM , Rating: 1
they are trying to avoid a muslim shit storm. I think they are handling it very well. We aren't animals like he was. We don't need to parade his dead body in the streets and post pictures to flood the internet. We are taking the high road here, and I think it shows great tact.


RE: Clippy:
By jhb116 on 5/3/2011 9:44:43 PM , Rating: 1
A - did you get the news - he was killed at the compound during the shootout with the his security force - or so the story goes

B - the burial was less than a day to show respect for his religion - again as reported from internet/news sources.


RE: Clippy:
By Belard on 5/2/2011 4:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know that Clippy is gay?


RE: Clippy:
By geekman1024 on 5/2/2011 11:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
He PLAYED with Clippy.


Ribbon hero
By Smilin on 5/2/2011 11:12:15 AM , Rating: 2
No so sure about clippy but Ribbon Hero is pretty cool. It's like the perfect way to learn some new stuff in Office for those of us that don't want to look stuff up.




RE: Ribbon hero
By angryplayer on 5/2/2011 1:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
F1 so hard.


RE: Ribbon hero
By bah12 on 5/2/2011 1:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
Kind of neat for those unsavy people out there. Found it ironic that Office 2007 with no One Note will not get you to level 4 (not enough points to clear level 3). Clever Microsoft trying to drive up demo downloads, on a silly trainer.


RE: Ribbon hero
By Souka on 5/2/2011 2:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'm actually considering pushing this out to my 250+ systems here.

I'll get an expense approval for some gift-card prizes (mininum score to qualify for raffle) and maybe a prize for highest avg. scrore in departments...

I might even have a pizza lunch to announce the game and prizes. :)

:)


RE: Ribbon hero
By Smilin on 5/3/2011 10:06:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's a nice way to get some extra value from the product. Everyone always knows they only use 20% of what it can do (if that).


Period in wrong place
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/2/2011 11:18:59 AM , Rating: 5
The period in the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph is in the wrong place. Sentence should read:

The Office Assistant was a tool <period>




May be it is just me
By chiadog on 5/2/2011 10:50:47 AM , Rating: 2
but I liked Clippy ;o




RE: May be it is just me
By smartalco on 5/2/2011 6:15:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it was just you. Literally. Only you. Alone in a sea of Clippy-hating Office users.


Last laugh!
By joedon3 on 5/2/2011 10:38:13 AM , Rating: 2
Dag! Bin Laden is behind this!!!! He got the jump on us this time!




as long
By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 5/2/2011 10:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
as long as it's a first person shooter...when you find clippy you get to end him.




Clippy for VI
By fic2 on 5/2/2011 1:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
I loved the humor of clippy for vi:
http://blogs.sun.com/marigan/entry/how_the_vi_edit...

also, there are several clippy videos on youtube.

I guess in keeping with the news of the day:
I wonder if SEAL Team 6 uses clippy -
It looks like you would like to kill a terrorist. Do you need help with that?




Two wrong's don't make a rite.
By krazyderek on 5/2/2011 3:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
let me get this straight.... microsoft is trying to use one of the worst received snippets of it's past software (clippy) to help ease people into the ribbon interface that many people are now painfully moving to (those of us that clug to 2003 for dear life) since 2010 is the only upgrade path at this point if you want to buy new office seats.




Ribbon Hero "2"?
By Kibbles on 5/2/2011 8:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
Ribbon Hero "2"? Was there a Ribbon Hero 1?
I kind of liked puppy one.




Annoying Orange
By optimuscream on 5/3/2011 4:10:10 AM , Rating: 2
I would say this is a Microsoft version of Youtube's Annoying Orange series :))




Playing Crysis 2
By marraco on 5/4/2011 8:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to have dead.

Would you like an obituary?




"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes














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