Halo 4 Passes Its First Crucial Test: Metacritic


Microsoft Corp. has a lot riding on its new alien shooting videogame, Halo 4, which is part of the blockbuster Halo franchise and debuts Nov 6. (read “The Big Game Battle“). But there‘s one thing over which Halo 4′s creators can breathe a sigh of relief: the game‘s review score from Metacritic.com.

Metacritic, which aggregates videogame reviews from various game publications such as GameStop GME +0.04%‘s Game Informer magazine and AOL‘s Joystiq, gives videogames an averaged score ranging from 1 to 100. The ranking that a game receives is regarded as a barometer for whether a title will sell well, with many game industry veterans and analysts saying a game needs to score in the mid-80s to be a certified hit.

“I‘d be hard pressed to buy a 60-rated game,“ said Josh Holmes, “Halo 4′s“ creative director. “Anything below 75–that‘s the kiss of death.“

The Big Game Battle


In a slick two-minute trailer from David Fincher, the director of “The Social Network” and “Fight Club,” a young boy is stolen from his home, turned into a surgically enhanced supersoldier known as “Master Chief,” then set loose to battle hordes of evil aliens.

The splashy preview isn’t for Hollywood’s latest major motion picture. It’s part of the elaborate build up to the release of “Halo 4,” the latest installment of Microsoft’s blockbuster videogame for the Xbox 360. When it debuts on Tuesday, the game, in development for four years, could easily end up bigger than most movie releases. Its predecessor, “Halo 3” sold $300 million worth of copies in the first week following its 2007 release.

Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to ensure that every male under 45 in America knows “Halo 4” is on its way. In partnership with PepsiCo, there will be Halo-themed Mountain Dew and Halo Doritos. Boys can wear Halo Axe deodorant while playing a Halo version of Risk.

A tradition of home-cooking from mom, who didn’t cook


My father can cook. Or so he says.

I grew up hearing stories of how my father wooed my mother by cooking her fabulous dinners and serving them to her over his grand piano in his tiny New York apartment.

The story, as my father tells it, was that his apartment was too small to hold a table and his piano and, being a world-class concert pianist, he chose the piano. So he bought a cover for the piano and fed his dates. I imagine he probably serenaded them, too, but the details have been lost both to time and trailing mumbled memories.

Still, what I’ve been brought up to believe is that my father can cook. And my mother – she grew up in Atlanta in the ’40s. Of course she can cook.

So what shocked my girlfriend, Laura, was that Thanksgiving this year was going to be catered by Marie Callender’s.

I said my parents could cook. I didn’t say they did.