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  Moxie’s Coffee Break – Your Inside Peek at MSN Games






Who is Moxie?

Moxie is a lifetime native of Redmond, Washington, who enjoys BBQing with friends, winter snowboarding, digging for clams (but not geoducks… those things are scary!), live music at cyber cafes, cheesy 1950’s B movies, hiking the national forests, and playing TextTwist or Puzzle Express on MSN Games. Oh, and double-tall mochas with a shot of vanilla.

(If you’ve ever e-mailed MSN for game help, we’ve already met!)




Now that I have my very own little corner of MSN Games, I can talk about my favorite subject in the world: games! Every two weeks (or so), I hope to share some of the fun of being inside MSN Games, maybe some tips on your favorite games, how to avoid common technical problems, what sort of exciting stuff is going on here, or anything else that seems like a good idea at the time. So keep your hands and feet inside the ride, folks, ‘cause here we go…

Article archive

January 12, 2010

Moxie has penned her 100th and final column! Hop in and see what games she declared the best of 2009!

December 7, 2009

This week, Moxie goes on a quest playing two Bookworm Adventures games! Then, she shows her organization skills playing Pack This!

November 16, 2009

Turkey Day is approaching, and this year Moxie is giving thanks for pumpkin pie, Square Logic, and Mahjong Memoirs!

November 2, 2009

Moxie is recovering from her mass candy intake but still in the Halloween spirit! This week, she’s knee-deep in vampires, werewolves and ghosts – oh my!

October 12, 2009

Moxie participates in Breast Cancer Awareness month and celebrates all of the great women characters in casual games!
October 5, 2009

This week, Moxie is bumping and bowling! Then, she’s donning her overalls to herd penguins playing Farm Frenzy 3!

September 21, 2009

Moxie loves hidden-object games. Uncover her reviews of the latest Mystery P.I., The Mystery of Mary Celeste and The Lost City of Z.

September 3, 2009
This week, Moxie has an exclusive chat with James Patterson about Women’s Murder Club!

August 24, 2009
Great things come in threes and this week Moxie highlights three great games that she has somehow overlooked!

August 10, 2009
This week, Moxie is twisting again with the sequel for one of her favorite games of all time! Plus, she visits farms and castles in two new download games!

July 27, 2009
Moxie is ready to party and she makes the perfect game character guest list for the MSN Games Birthday Bash!

July 13, 2009
This week, after Moxie takes to the streets in search of brains, she settles in for four new free  games!

June 22, 2009

Moxie takes a break from watching reality television to round up the latest hidden-object games. From a wild Vegas wedding to a steam-powered Victorian adventure, there's something here worth squinting at!

June 8, 2009
Moxie is back from vacation and she’s feeling rested and ready to jump into more Plants vs. Zombies and Yosumin!

May 26, 2009
Moxie goes on vacation with some cool new friends, but they're not interested in the BBQ buffet. This week's Iron Coffee Break ingredient: brrraiiiiiiinnnnnssss...

May 11, 2009

Moxie celebrates the awesomeness of mothers, makes a few suggestions on when to enjoy some Daily Fun, and invites one and all to "bring it" in Catan for Xbox Live Arcade.

April 27, 2009
Live long and…peruse Moxie’s ponderings on Sci Fi. Also, what is Moxie more skilled at – shopping or ranching?

April 15, 2009

Moxie gives her brain some exercise and dives in to the games starring her favorite literary heroine – Nancy Drew!

March 30, 2009

This week, Moxie discusses all the change that’s in the air and then takes a journey to that other Emerald City.

March 16, 2009
It's spring in Seattle, and Moxie's heart is aflutter with the thought of sunshine, flowers... and new word games!

February 23, 2009

Moxie dishes about true love, overlooked movies, brick-busting games, and the availability of delicious murder -- that's a lot for just one Coffee Break!

February 9, 2009
Moxie revisits her geeky roots, enjoys a nice cup of murder, and battles bandits in the Old West. It's been a busy week!

January 26, 2009

In this Coffee Break, Moxie has six good reasons to try a new hidden-object game, and one good reason to believe that books are better than movies!

January 13, 2009

Moxie rings in the new year with her resolutions and her favorite games so far this year!

December 22, 2008

Moxie is snowbound! To pass the time, she's handing out awards for the best games of 2008!

December 10, 2008

Moxie is trying to get ready for the holidays but she’s been distracted by Hexic, Chess and socially networking!

November 10, 2008

If Moxie had to choose between a new Jewel Quest game and an excellent hidden-object game, her brain would probably seize up. Good thing she doesn't have to choose...

October 29, 2008

It’s Halloween time and Moxie knows how to celebrate – from dressed-up kids to special recipes! And, of course, Moxie has a some solid game recommendations to help you get in the spirit!

October 20, 2008

Moxie’s got election fever and wishes it would just go away! She spends some time on the hot new sequel to Peggle and explores an exciting new hidden object game!

October 6, 2008

In this Coffee Break, Moxie serves up the perfect three-course feast of autumn gaming: dessert, meal, and dessert. Plus the scoop on our new sweepstakes!

September 22, 2008

Time's a-wastin', and Moxie's wasting time in style with a trio of new time-management games. (Actually, time is never wasted when it's spent having fun!)

September 8, 2008

Now that the kids are back to school, it’s time to settle in for some serious game-playing! Moxie reports back from D.C., sorts a few shells, and offers tips on your favorite tricky games.

August 25, 2008

Moxie is making her thumb a little greener by playing our newest free game Flowerz.  Also, join her on a most unusual and exotic road trip!

August 11, 2008

Moxie’s suffering from Olympic fever, and the only cure is sports, sports, sports! Also in this Coffee Break: Jewel Quest III, the return of an old friend, and why pomegranates can inspire awe.

July 21, 2008

If MSN Games was a 12-year-old child, how would it celebrate its birthday? Why with games, games, more games, and some cake games, of course!

July 8, 2008
As MSN Games approaches its 12th birthday, Moxie interviews one of the folks who helped it grow from a tiny Village to the wonderful, full featured site that it is today.

June 30, 2008

High style, warm fuzzies, and stolen loot: it’s a mixed bag of game gab this week. Also, a new study shows that casual games can be good for you… not like this is news to those of us who play them!

June 9, 2008 – Virtual Villagers 3 tips and tricks
Something a little different this time! In the interests of preserving hundreds of little virtual lives, I’d like to share a few hints about starting your new village. In particular, how to keep your ever-hungry villagers fed long enough to learn how to fish!

June 2, 2008
It’s the Great Sequel Roundup 2: The Sequel! Summer is the traditional time for sequels, and I’ve been playing a bunch of them. What better topic for today’s Coffee Break?

May 19, 2008
Moxie’s looking forward to the summer movie season, and hoping to recapture the adventurous mood of her youth! Also in this Coffee Break: how many women it takes to discuss a juicy crime novel, and where to go this summer if you want to play cards.

May 5, 2008
April showers bring May flowers, new games, and the Take a Break Sweepstakes! (Okay, that doesn’t really rhyme past the first part, but there just aren’t many useful words that go with “showers”.)

April 21, 2008
Geek love at its finest, digital artists rocking out on virtual instruments, the real reason we play hidden-pictures games, and a plea for help with Plantasia. Can anyone tell me how to beat this level?

April 4, 2008
A couple photos of the Coolest. Chess. Match. EVER. Plus a reminder that misty-eyed nostalgia does not equal current competence when it comes to games you played in college.

March 26, 2008
GameSpring hits the 200-games mark! How cool is that? And if you happen to be at Sakura Con 2008, the MSN Games team would love to meet you. Stop in here for all the details.

March 4, 2008
It’s a sad week for the gaming community, as we mourn the loss of an industry icon. But there’s also some cheery rambling here for the new generation of hidden-picture games.

February 15, 2008
*singing* Chocolates and puppies and stinkbugs that sting: these are a few of my favorite things!

January 31, 2008
Winning isn’t everything, but wow, it sure is nice. In this Coffee Break, there’s a lot of buzz about the new MSN Games sweepstakes, a followup note about Joboo’s Gems, and… well… I’ll admit I go a little crazy for Farm Frenzy.

January 10, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2008 bring you all the happiness, good health, and fun games that you deserve… and may 2009 finally bring us those flying cars that we’ve been waiting for since the 1950’s.

December 14, 2007
No snow for Seattle, but plenty of hidden-picture games for Moxie! Also, a great new winter sweepstakes, some musings on the holiday season, and a hint of things to come…

November 20, 2007
As Turkey Day approaches, Moxie makes plans to enjoy four solid days of gaming, do some holiday shopping, and above all, eat ham. Did I mention the four solid days of gaming?

November 16, 2007
Casual games and the new Xbox 360 Arcade: just a little something you might want to know if you’ve ever dreamed of sitting on the comfy couch while playing Hearts, Hexic, or UNO.

October 23, 2007
Moxie II: The Sequel! Well, maybe not, but everything else seems to have a sequel (or two or three) these days, so I thought I’d take a look at what “makes” a good follow-up game.

October 4, 2007
Let’s see… seven wonders, plus seven more wonders, plus a bonus wonder… we’re up to fifteen so far! Also, a cheerful “happy anniversary” to one of the big game genres.

September 14, 2007
It’s great to be back in the office, and better still to be rambling on about games to people who won’t look at me like I’ve grown a second head. You’d think everyone would love games!

August 28, 2007
I’m heading for the hills, literally! But first, there’s time for a quick Coffee Break and a dish about the best new games I’ve been playing lately. Plus some good news about Bridge!

August 6, 2007
More love for GoPets, including some admittedly silly pictures of my virtual cat, plus yet another good reason to chat with your friends and family in Messenger.

July 23, 2007
Yay! I finally get to talk about the game I’ve been looking forward to for ages! It just launched on Messenger last week, and I’m already a total addict. Also in today’s Coffee Break: why our trivia writers are my new best friends.

July 5, 2007
Fireworks, good food, and a couple of new games that rock my world. That’s my idea of the perfect holiday! I wish we could have fireworks with every holiday. But at least we have games 365 days a year, so it’s all good.

June 20, 2007
School’s out, and that means it’s time for kids of all ages to hit the beach, or enjoy some summer sports, or just hang out in the backyard. And it’s also time to kick back with a few games; I’ve suggested some great new ones for you!

June 1, 2007
Well, I might not have made it to the moon, but I have a new goal: joining the 1000 Badges Club! It’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m willing to play as many games as it takes to become one of the badge-collection elite.

May 18, 2007
Celebrating two more announcements: an exclusive game launch on MSN Games, and a free space-shooter game (made by interns, no less!) on Xbox Live Arcade. Of course, I’m also rambling on about my latest favorite games, and why I’m worried about reaching the moon. (Play more games, please!)

May 4, 2007
Two spiffy MSN Games announcements in today’s Coffee Break, plus my latest gaming passion and a few thoughts on the fleeting nature of time… or at least, a certain amount of puzzlement as to where the last four months went so quickly.

April 18, 2007
I natter on this time about a couple of new features on MSN Games: the Staff Pick of the Week, and the Community Calendar. Well, okay, and maybe I talk about games. Just a little. Maybe more than a little. Okay, a lot. But I really like Treasures of Montezuma!

April 6, 2007 – Moxie’s Pick of the Week #3
You just can’t beat the classics, and to me, that classic is Text Twist. If I was going to be stuck on a deserted island with nothing but a laptop computer, a coconut-milk-powered generator, and one casual game to keep me company, I’d pick Text Twist. It never gets old!

March 30, 2007 – Moxie’s Pick of the Week #2
Peggle! The most incredibly simplistic game you’ll ever spend hours and hours and hours of your life playing. All you do is launch a ball. That’s it. So why can’t I just turn it off and walk away? If “obsession” has a new synonym, it’s “Peggle”.

March 23, 2007 – Moxie’s Pick of the Week #1
Cradle of Rome: what it is, why I’m so addicted to it, and a few tips to help you beat the game.

March 20, 2007
Lest you think that our interests around here are confined merely to video games, I’m nattering on this week about our recent ping-pong extravaganza: Microsoft Casual Games versus Penny Arcade. There’s also a scary story, and a handy tip for starting Virtual Villagers 2.

March 8, 2007
This week, there’s a spiffy new announcement for Vista users who love arcade-style games. I’ll also be rambling about Virtual Villagers 2, and hoping like crazy that I manage to keep my village alive this time. Sheesh!

February 26, 2007
Some amazing GameSpring news, a whole lot of Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst rambling, and the follow-up to my question about badges. Who’d have guessed I was such a badge wimp?

February 7, 2007
Another week, another excuse to ramble on about my favorite games. This time, it’s Jigsaw Too, Westward, and Jewel Quest 2, plus a handful of tips to relieve the stress of Valentine’s Day!

January 31, 2007
Exciting announcements a-plenty for us this week, including four exclusive Vista-enhanced games and the launch of Jewel Quest 2 (woohoo!), plus some helpful hints to keep you from repeating my tragic Virtual Villagers mistake.

January 18, 2007
A snowy week, and a fluffy Coffee Break. If you’re searching for hard-hitting game news, this may not be the place to look. But if you’re keen to hear a cautionary tale about snowstorms and tiny little virtual people, or meet another Moxie, then we’ve got you covered.

January 8, 2007
It’s that time of year again: GO SEAHAWKS! Moxie shares her enthusiasm for the great game of football, and for the new download game Westward. There’s also a bit of bragging, and the obligatory tech issue. Happy New Year!

December 28, 2006
Today’s bonus Coffee Break contains game ramblings, a cute photo, and one very important holiday tip (but no nuts or wheat products).

December 21, 2006
Did you think a little thing like gale-force winds and a state of emergency would keep Moxie from prattling on about her favorite new games? As if!

December 11, 2006
Snow in Seattle, Hexic on YouTube, and Bookworm Adventures turning Moxie into a raving fangirl. You could miss this Coffee Break, but why would you want to?

November 21, 2006
This week, Moxie gives thanks for all her favorite things… and yes, some of those things are games!

November 9, 2006
Seattle has been hit with quite a lot of rain lately, so Moxie is seeking shelter and distraction! This week, she chats about her favorite games to play with her buddies online.

October 18, 2006
Moxie chats (and chats) about the MSN Games makeover and how our brand new subscription service is the ultimate deal for the frugal gamer. Also, she gets into the Halloween spirit with games, badges and a frog costume.

October 2, 2006
This week Moxie dishes about a big change going on at MSN Games. Also, she puts up her dukes and challenges MSN Games players to bout of gaming!

September 15, 2006
Moxie chats about her favorite TV shows, her pop culture prowess and how she can score you big points in Scrabble Blast!

September 1, 2006
School is in session and Moxie is yearning for notebooks, glue sticks and pop quizzes. Instead of heading back to school, she's exploring games that benefit your brain.

August 18, 2006
Moxie has gone mad for GameNews! Find out more as I dish the dirt on the latest MSN Games venture. Also, join me on my quest for one of the neatest badges to date!

August 4, 2006
It's all about community this week! Beat the heat by checking out our brand new forums or maybe make a field trip to meet up with fellow MSN Gamers. Also, find out what change we made to make your gaming experience even cooler!

July 18, 2006
Moxie was feeling so good after vacation she's tackled another Coffee Break! This week she's chattin' about the awesome Playing for a Cause program and how you can find a cause of your own! Who knew charity could begin at Zuma?

July 14, 2006
Moxie is back from vacation, and feelin’ good! She’s also feeling chatty, so this week you’ll read about the coolest advance ever in public transit (from a gamer’s point of view), and how to enjoy your summer vacation without actually taking a summer vacation.

June 6, 2006
MSN Games turns ten years old! And while we haven’t exactly worked out how to transmit cake across a modem, we’re celebrating anyway, and you’re invited along for a trip down Memory Lane!

May 19, 2006
E3 news from sunny SoCal! Or at least there were vague rumors of sun. The true gamer wouldn’t know, since everyone I talked to was inside scoping out the new consoles and admiring a veritable explosion of casual games.

May 12, 2006
Wow, it has been busy around here the last three weeks! Check out this much-delayed Coffee Break to find out why, to meet one of my favorite co-workers (who, if anything, has been even busier than I have lately!), and to answer the biggest question we’ve heard in ages.

April 17, 2006
The Coffee Break moves to Monday this week. Why? Because everyone needs a coffee break on Mondays. Or possibly because Fridays are too insanely busy. Either way, today’s installment is all about Spring Break, traveling, and games you can take along for the ride.

April 12, 2006
It’s Pause to Play week, and I’m taking the opportunity to ramble a bit about stress and my favorite methods of beating it. No surprise here that they’re all game-related. Enjoy!

March 31, 2006
Still thrilled about Live Arcade, but at least I’ve stopped blathering about it to anyone who’ll listen. This week’s topic is instead a much-beloved contradiction in terms, plus a random Jane Austen moment and, of course, a helpful bit of technical advice.

March 23, 2006
Moxie has an Xbox 360! And that means Moxie is now an Xbox Live Arcade addict. Take a peek inside to see what sort of games have eaten her week!

March 10, 2006
It’s “Hearts and laundry” week! Plus a bit of happy babbling over the launch of Texas Hold’Em, since that has to be the biggest trend in modern poker history, at least since the invention of mirrored sunglasses.

March 3, 2006
Another grande double-shot Coffee Break this week! Today’s installment tackles the really tough issues, such as getting past that big egg in Chicken Invaders 2 and how the heck to pronounce Sudoku. Mostly, though, it’s about the kids of MSN Games and what they’re playing.

February 24, 2006
This extra-fluffy Coffee Break reveals the arcane process involved in devising new badges, explains how to maximize your profits in Diner Dash, demonstrates why I probably shouldn’t have bragged about being good at Puzzle Express, and covers another of those pesky technical issues. Read on!

February 10, 2006
Valentine’s Day is on the way, and romance is in the air. I thought it would be fun to feature two couples who met and married while playing on MSN Games! Also, why it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a feather boa and lace-fingered gloves when playing Dominoes.

February 3, 2006
Everyone here in Seattle is suffering from SEAHAWKS FEVER! Moxie is no exception. But she also finds time to discuss a growing concern with multiplayer gaming, as well as this week’s top technical issue. (Go Seahawks! Go Seahawks!)

January 27, 2006
Has it been a whole week already? Time flies when you’re having fun! Today, I think it’s time to discuss how numbers can be a lot of fun even if you don’t like math, why Moxie is now about ten times better at Collapse!® than she was last week, and what you should do when your browser says, “Whoops!”

January 20, 2006
Welcome to “Moxie’s Coffee Break!” In this inaugural column, I’ll be chatting a bit about the week’s top technical issue, and also admitting why, although I’m neck-deep in new games, I’ve spent the last six days playing Word Mojo. (Go figure.)




Have a question for Moxie?

Want to know what goes on behind the scenes at MSN Games? What the people here are playing in their spare time? How to improve your high score in Hexic? What’s new and different on the site? (How in the world Moxie can answer up to 1000 game help requests every week? Answer: coffee, and lots of it.) Well, here’s your chance to ask!

All you have to do is email me: zmaster@microsoft.com. Make sure to include your MSN Games nickname, so I’ll know who to credit if I use your question. Remember, without your questions, I’ll be stumped for column topics, so please don’t be shy!

(Oh, and if you have technical questions or problems with a game, I’ll cheerfully answer those as well. Just submit them through the support section of this site!)