I mentioned this a few days ago, when it was first announced, but had yet to personally give it a run through. Having now finally jumped through a few hoops to get it installed*, I’ve now given it a good look and stand by my original judgement that it appeared to be little more than an interactive tutorial, and that its classification as a game is tenuous at best.
In fact, it’s probably a bit odd that I’ve dedicated another post to this at all, but given that I regularly use the entire Office suite, it is fair to note that it serves as an elegant way to accustom people with all the functions of the software and its nebulous new Ribbon interface. Everything down to the satisfying ‘ding’ sound as it counts up how many points you’ve earned, and rewarding you for not only learning a new technique but then again for remembering to use it again at a later stage. It’s a kind of positive reinforcement cycle that is nabbed straight out of traditional game design for use in an unconventional manner. So, basically, it is everything is says on the box.
So, Ribbon Hero isn’t strictly a game. It might not even teach you a single damn thing either. But it’s an interesting experiment in applying game design concepts in an unorthodox manner, and there might be something for even traditional game designers to learn by looking at its implementation.
* Not only did it require .NET 3.5 SP1, but had an additional runtime dependency that had to be downloaded separately. For future note, Labs guys, please disclose all this stuff in advance. When I download an installer, I really just want that to be everything I need to download. In fact, that goes for everyone. Thank you.
** This post worth 18 points!