Clippy. We all know him and his history but at Microsoft, the digital assistant that was anything but personal or helpful, has become an iconic piece of Microsoft history. And when I was offered the chance to become Clippy, a tear of joy slowly succumbed to the gravitational pull of the Earth and rolled down my cheek as I said ‘Yes’.
In a super-secret location on Microsoft’s campus that is definitely not Studio E’s lobby, I got to become Clippy. The suit, which is roughly 3.5ft high is about as awkward to put on as an 8th grade dance. It’s slim, no pivot points to bend and is made of a material that has less airflow than a Surface Pro 3 with a cat laying on the vents.
But as the suit slides over you, a feeling of being absorbed into the Microsoft universe takes place and suddenly you become invincible. On Microsoft’s campus, if you are Clippy, you can do anything - at least, that’s how it feels.
Well, you can do anything but sit down as the suit goes past your waist and doesn’t pivot. Running; that’s not happening either. Oh, and it’s incredibly hot inside, so staying inside Clippy for more than a few minutes results in dehydration and as for visibility... well, it’s about as good as the end of your night on your 21st birthday.
But once you manage to figure out how to move around within the limitations provided, you feel an almighty superpower within you. You suddenly realize that nobody will question you - you are Clippy, you get to question them. You feel like you can crash any meeting, tell Satya Nadella that you are the new CEO and use a company expense account to throw an awesome party; nothing feels off limits.
After I figured out my master plan to use Clippy to gain unparalleled access to Microsoft’s deepest darkest secrets, I was sweating profusely and had to take the suit off. The Clippy suit, much like the digital version of Clippy, is great in concept but execution is quite poor.
Taking the suit off is nearly impossible without help as you have no room inside to bring your arms in to lift it off. Your options are to fall over and wiggle your way out or, if your friends are around you and don't feel like being jerks, they can help you lift it off after asking nicely.
I will always cherish the time I got to become one of Microsoft’s most iconic figures and know that it is a joy few will ever get to experience. But for now, Clippy goes back in to the Microsoft archives where he can hang out with Microsoft Bob and rock out to his Zune.