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.
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.
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.
Setup took a while, but was ulitmately successful.
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:
Then *POOF!* Spouting his famous line, a wild Clippy appears:
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.
It turns out he mainly provides links to help files and shortcuts to “wizards” which were used a lot back then.
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.
If you manually activate the Office Assistant feature, Clippy also acts as a search box:
So I searched for “write a resume” hoping Clippy would guide me. Instead, I got this:
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:
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:
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:
I tried a few more ideas, including a birthday invitation and making something called “a fax”, but Clippy offered no help.
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!