Gotta catch ‘em all

I might tell myself that I hate gaming achievement systems and see them as a cynical way of artificially extending the lifetime of content while simultaneously making one loathe it, but I’m still a sucker for a challenge, even if it involves learning how to use MS Word…

Ribbon Hero (yes, I know) is a Microsoft concept test designed to help players learn more about features of Word and improve their efficiency in using them.  Rather than being presented with a cringingly patronising video tutorial, a terse set of text instructions or that paperclip, the player is given a brief task to complete, with hints available if they get stuck.  Successfully completed challenges award a varying number of achievement points depending on whether it’s finished with or without hints, within a certain timescale or with the minimum number of steps.  And it’s startlingly effective.  I learned more about the features of Word in the half hour I spent achievement hunting than I’ve done in the more than dozen years I’ve been using it before today.  By incentivising ‘working it out for yourself’, Ribbon Hero also makes the player think far more about the processes and patterns of how Word works, genuinely improving their efficiency with other tasks outside those offered by the game itself.  I was surprised at just how effective this approach was, and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see similar game-based training systems used in other products.

Spotted via the June 2010 issue of PC Gamer.

One thought on “Gotta catch ‘em all

  1. Thanks for flagging that up Rowin, anything that can replace that paperclip and actually gives you information you need sounds good to me.

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