The Quest For Clippy


The Quest For Clippy

One of the main barriers to entry in Super Slam Dunk Touchdown is people not knowing how to play. Everything is described in the manual, but nobody has read an instruction manual since 1983. One of my goals with SSDT’s Season Mode expansion was to walk new players through the basic gameplay concepts with a friendly, helpful avatar. I needed inspiration, and the helpful digital assistant Clippy immediately sprung to mind.

Clippy is a pirate in a huge boat with big beautiful sails. All aboard the great ship Imagination! Arr matey!

Thar he be

He would pop up if you typed “Dear (anybody)” into older versions of Microsoft Word and say, “It looks like you’re writing a letter. Would you like help?” I wanted to find some good Clippy quotes but after searching online, I couldn’t find a complete script of everything Clippy ever said. So I had only one option: Resurrect him.

I had an old Windows XP laptop, so I booted it up, but could not find Word. It appeared I had Open Office back then. Strike one.

But then I remembered my wife’s old XP laptop was stashed on a shelf and still worked, so I booted it up and started Word.

A feature that is on a CD that does not exist

Strike two. I wasn’t ready to give up yet, so I dug around in my pile of old install disks and found a couple of boxed copies of Microsoft Works. I wasn’t sure when Clippy was discontinued, so I went with the oldest copy, Works 2002 and began the process of installing it on the old XP laptop.

Microsoft Works Suite 2002 requires several operating system components, including Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 .5.

Anything for you, Clippy

Setup took a while, but was ulitmately successful.



Sort of.

An error message. The image in the background is one I found on the old laptop. It appears to be a screen capture of Tony from P90X taken at an inopportune time. The image was in the background when I took the screen capture and is used here for comedic effect. On a personal note, I try to do 4 P90X videos a week and it has really helped get me in good shape. I propose the US go to a 35 hour work week to accommodate a national fitness program led by President Tony.


I’m not sure what the error message was about, but I went ahead and ran Word anyway. Nothing seemed broken. It was time to summon Clippy:

I'm sorry Clippy, please don't be mad

Clippy come back!

Then *POOF!* Spouting his famous line, a wild Clippy appears:

Clippy clippy clippy clippy!


Now I must admit that I, like many people at the time, found Clippy to be extremely annoying. So I had never fully explored what Clippy could do.

Clippy's second most popular quote, "Do more with the letter?"

What more can be done?

It turns out he mainly provides links to help files and shortcuts to “wizards” which were used a lot back then.

You're a wizard, Clippy!

Printing addresses onto envelopes was a bigger part of life in the early 2000s

I kept typing my fake letter and doing whatever clippy suggested, just hoping to get more text out of him, but other than his famous “It looks like you’re writing a letter.” line, I couldn’t get him to say much. I remember being so annoyed by Clippy back then, I was really hoping he would pop up more.

I tried some ideas to summon Clippy but none worked. Boo.

The world’s laziest resume didn’t summon him, so I manually activated him.

If you manually activate the Office Assistant feature, Clippy also acts as a search box:

search box

Clippy’s other famous line “What would you like to do?”

So I searched for “write a resume” hoping Clippy would guide me. Instead, I got this:

Dang it, I don't have the Web


Writing resumes is about the only thing I used to use a word processor for so this was disappointing. Maybe it wasn’t so much that Clippy was annoying, it’s that he was annoying and didn’t help you write a resume. He had dozens of frames of animation, but not a lot of advice that I could get out of him. I went to the settings to see if there was any way to make him pop up more and saw something shocking:

who is clippit?


I didn’t realize his name is actually “Clippit”. But at least I found some more things he says. “Hey, there” is a possible contender for his next great catch phrase. I also didn’t realize there was a whole gallery of Office Assistants:

The Dot, F1, Office Logo, Merlin, Mother Nature, Links and Rocky

The rest of the gang

These guys make me wish they had made a Saturday morning cartoon about Clippy and the Gang. Upon paging back and forth, I found a few more Clippy catch phrases:

What's the word?

Hey, there.

I tried a few more ideas, including a birthday invitation and making something called “a fax”, but Clippy offered no help.

No luck

No luck

Sadly, this is where the journey ends for now. Clippy seems to have a lot of animations but I can’t get him to do much. If anyone out there knows how to get more out of him, please let me know!




About rick

Founder of Tipping Goat and creator of Super Slam Dunk Touchdown. On Twitter @TippingGoat

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