Ribbon Hero 2 has been out for about three weeks now. It is outpacing all our past projects in downloads by a wide margin. So far, I’d categorize the user feedback on “RH2” in the following way:
|Haven’t tried it:||that is the dumbest thing I can imagine|
|Have tried it:||this is cool, fun, clever, and I am getting value out of it|
So, the verdict is clear: you should try it. Don’t read about it and judge it. Download it, install it, and try it. If you have Office 2007 or 2010, try it at work – our data shows that most other people do. It is one of the few work-safe games imaginable – after all, you are improving your work skills through workplace training. If anyone asks why you’re playing a game, tell them “you should play it too – I’ve already learned three new things that improve my productivity and help me go home sooner (ahem, I mean get more work done). Also I dare you to not get addicted to the lounge-y theme music.”
In 2010 Office Labs released Ribbon Hero, a game that helped you get better at Office while you played it. Our major finding at that time: “that is not as dumb an idea as it sounds”. In fact, people played it, liked it, and learned about Office making them more productive. Schools started using it. Some corporations deployed it. Training centers used it. Ribbon Hero has since become a poster child for the “gamification” movement, where fun is used to help learning. That’s also called “serious gaming”, although its catchier (and more fun!) to say “gamification”.
The new version, RH2, is a complete overhaul, much more polished with a narrative and “bling”, and updated to more than “sort of fun”. We learned from our pals the experts in XBox and added “charming”, “clever”, “humourous”, “self-deprecating”, “tongue-in-cheek”, and some other personality elements I am sure you’ll enjoy. And it is a *lot* more fun. After all, helping people recover after Clippy has messed them up – how can that not be rewarding? We had some fun turning Clippy on himself:
Here’s a sample of the feedback we’ve gotten from people who have tried RH2. You should believe them.
groovyPost: “Overall, Ribbon Hero 2 is hands-down the best training tool I’ve ever seen.”
GeekWire: “Never let it be said that the people at Microsoft don’t have a sense of humor.”
istartedsomething: “I can’t imagine a better way to incorporate learning for a productivity application”