Word Play: Ribbon Hero

The best thing about John being sick is that I can do grabs from youtube videos without him complaining about them looking horrible. Muhahahaha!

We’ve been meaning to post about Ribbon Hero for a while, prompted by – oooh – at least many people. Unfortunately, we wanted to give it a try first and John’s the only one who has a copy of Office (The of us rest being punk rock heroes! and/or cheapskates with Open Office). And John’s spent the last couple of days discharging fountains of bilious fluid from every imaginable organ, so it hasn’t happened, so I’m going to plug it swiftly before I jet off to Seattle. Basically, it turns the process of learning bits of Office (Both 2007 and the 2010 Beta) into a game, complete with achievements and the ability to compete against friends. I’d expect to see a lot more stuff like this over the next few years. Anyway, you can get it from here or find it explained by a chap below.

Also, wish John well, folks. He’s feeling poorly.


  1. Skree says:

    Sounds interesting – reminds me quite a lot of that DICE clip from a couple weeks ago, with games popping up more and more in unexpected places.

    Get well soon John!

  2. robrob says:

    Hope you feel better soon, John!

  3. Cael says:

    I’d rather play open office hero where you your document done 2x faster without that dumb ribbon.

  4. TwistedMentat says:

    Interesting idea and the execution seems pretty solid.

    I didn’t expect the social network integration. That could be interesting, especially if you had people within a company competing with each other when a new release is made.

    Should be fun to see where this goes.

  5. Xercies says:

    Why are you praising this? This is just one step closer to the horrible future that the DICE fellow predicted. And your accepting it with open arms. Fight it…fight the power.

    • Reverend Speed says:

      I think you’re on the right track there, Xercies… and yet…

      …maaaaaaaaan, that looks boring. It’s like having a condescending parent/caregiver clapping and dancing each time you finish one card from your stack ‘thank you’s.

      Haven’t tried it, but… wow, that would set my teeth on edge.

      I suppose if you’re office default ‘tech support’, you could install that program and offer your own services as a sane alternative… but at a price…

    • Calabi says:

      @ Xercies

      Thats why I was thinking, but then it does look like such a perfect way to learn something, or is it?

  6. Reverend Speed says:


    ‘stack OF ‘thankyou’s’.




  7. DanPryce says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. Now I have an incentive to do my dissertation.

  8. Nick says:

    Get well soon John, I suggest leeches and/or bleeding.

  9. Skusey says:

    I think my Step-Dad might be interested in this, he has several editions of the Microsoft Excel Bible which he recently took with him when he went on holiday.

  10. Garg says:

    Use LaTeX! That way you have all these problems relating to confusion and/or frustration magnified at least 10 times. Although on the plus side it does look prettier.

    Get well soon Mister Walker.

    • Carra says:

      Latex is great and a lot less frustrating than Word for big text documents.

      Then again convincing your twenty coworkers to start using Latex isn’t simple ;)

    • James G says:

      Writing my thesis in LaTeX at the moment. Bloody underful Hboxes!

      It also took me half a day to work out how to place images in a table which were both centred horizontally and vertically in their table cell.

      On the plus side it does deal with figures vastly better than either Word or OpenOffice.org. No longer do I have to deal with a figure shooting two pages thataway while leaving half a page of whitespace below its anchor paragraph. (Seriously, both Word and OO.o need to have better management of figures.)

      I do wish that someone would reconsider the word-processor as a whole actually. Something with the user friendliness of Word/OO.o and the approach to layout of LaTeX would be nice. I also wish that we had a better parent/child model for paragraphs, sections etc. If I designed a wordprocessor it would be possible to drag entire paragraphs or sections out of the workflow and into a sidecart. The approach we have at the moment is a bit dated, and needs to be replaced with something that considers elements as much as blocks of texts, and is more dynamic in their reorganisation, without having to resort to the clipboard. (Which I never trust to retain its content for long enough)

    • stahlwerk says:

      @James G
      have you tried Lyx? Besides harnessing the heathen power of LaTeX for its layout, it offers pretty nice outlining facilities… although I don’t know if they extend all the way down to paragraphs.

    • James G says:


      I haven’t but it looks interesting. I might give it a look this weekend.

  11. Maxheadroom says:

    Hmm, I smell Edu-tainment *shudder*

  12. Charlemanga says:

    It’s not really a game though… It’s an Office tutorial with *shudder* Achievements.

    Possibly it’s a good way to learn Office and such (learning is always better when there is a sense of reward), but we’re hardly in Typing of the Dead territory here…

  13. Dain says:

    Doesn’t stop office 2007 being horrible.

  14. Carra says:

    Reminds me of the presentation that was recently posted on RPS. Make everything a game! Give achievements! Give scores!

  15. Insectecutor says:

    This looks extremely rubbish compared to that hall of tortured souls game in Excel 95.

    Seriously, though, this reminds me of Jesse Schell’s horrific vision of the future presented at DICE this year.

  16. Radiant says:

    I don’t think that guy blinked once.
    There is a reason people call you beady starey eye man, son.

  17. HexagonalBolts says:

    Reminds me exactly of Jesse Schell’s speech you guys posted from DICE 2010, scoring points for doing every day things

    And lets you compare with other people on facebook…

    Oh wait several people have already said this.

    There isn’t any form of reward though… if there was a gamer-y reward (Just to throw an idea out there – font unlocks?) there would be a point to advancing

  18. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Get well soon, John.

    And think of yer diet. Don’t spend too long cooped up in a room when you could be going for a walk. Oh, don’t yell. And be good to yer mum.

    Okay, just get better, then.

  19. Grunt says:

    How timely! I’m currently ‘adapting’ to Office 2007 through my new work laptop. After having got off to a painful start (akin to chewing broken glass) I now seem to be making some progress! I have to agree with some of the comments above that – yes – 2007 is actually horrible, and for as much as it improves on it also takes a few giant steps backwards in terms of useability.

    Not sure I’ll be able to instal Ribbon Hero on the work laptop – it’s pretty nailed down – but I’ll definitely be having a go on my home system! :)

    PS: GET WELL, JOHN! (Am currently also bedevilled with lurgy!)

  20. brkl says:

    AAAAAAAH he scares me.

  21. Harley Turan says:


    • Corporate Dog says:

      “Wanna find a way to learn valuable skills with… valuable word processing software skills while… you’re having fun? Just play Ribbon Hero, ya turkey! God. Why didn’t YOU think of that?”

  22. Robin says:

    I predicted this in 2008. So that makes me an analyst, right?

    Heresy of heresies, I really like the Ribbon UI. The concept is not shown at its best applied to apps with hundreds of dubious legacy features like Word or Excel. There are a few other apps that use it. I’d love to see some games adopt it, actually.

  23. Dain says:

    I heard the final reward is unlocking the Office XP interface.

  24. Mr Bismarck says:

    I think I’ll stick to playing Football Manager on Excel.

  25. disperse says:

    Edutainment: ride the RegEx Express:

    link to pyweek.org

  26. TeeJay says:

    Re. “cheapskates with Open Office”

    Office 2010 Beta is also free (although it will expire on 31st October 2010)

    I’ve been using it (Excel mainly) for several weeks. For the first couple of days I wanted to switch back to Open Office Calc but I now prefer it.

  27. Nobody Important says:

    I play Abiword Hero. Or even Emacs Hero when I’m feeling evil.

  28. Custom Site Design London says:

    There are a few other apps that use it. I’d love to see some games adopt it, actually.