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Ep. 1393: Where we change the game: The 404

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The 404: Ep. 1393: Where we change the game

38:28 /

Today Jeff welcomes Harold Goldberg back to the show, where the two discuss the best games of the year, next-gen consoles, and Harold's Playboy Magazine profile of Rockstar Games' Sam Houser.

-Hey. What's going on, everyone? It is Monday, December 2nd, 2013. This is The 404 Show. I'm Jeff Bakalar. -I'm Ariel Nuñez. -Welcome to the program. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. On the show with me today, Mr. Harold Goldberg. How are you, sir? -I'm good, Jeff. Thanks for being here, man. It's your first time in the new studio. What do you think? -I love it, man. I think, yeah, I love the stuff on the shelves. It's big. It looks like I can repel on that wall over there. -And we kinda do have like a little rock climbing wall, you know. -Yeah, yeah. -No one's gotten hurt on it. -Yeah, just kids stuff. -But we're gonna strap you into the harness and you're gonna get-- you're gonna-- -I don't know if I like that, man. All right. -Oh, Harold is a good buddy of hours. He is a long time game journalist, writing for many publications like Boys' Life and New York Times and countless others. How was your Thanksgiving? Good? -It was good. Yeah, we went down to Delaware and eat a lot of turkey. -Yeah. -And-- you know what a turkey vulture is? -A turkey vulture? -Yeah, yeah. -So, you said it's a vulture that kind of looks like a turkey and there was a tree full of turkey vultures, I think about 30 or 35 turkey vultures but they're high, man. -Yeah. -They're like three feet each, so-- -Yeah. -a turkey vulture is a scary thing to see. It looks like you're going into like the River Sticks when you see that man. -That's terrifying. -Yeah. -So, you witness the plague and-- -Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, I have a Dark Side, so I really enjoyed it. -Right. -But I took some pictures of the [unk]. -Ride on, man. -That was like a-- one of the really highlights of Thanksgiving. Yeah. -That's pretty awesome. I wanna talk about a lot of stuff with you. There's tons of gaming news and sort of post launch hysteria to deal with but there's something that you got to do recently for playboy. In that magazine, in the November issue. -December issue. -I'm sorry. The December 2013 issue, -Yeah. -which is available right now. -Out now, yeah. -You did a profile of Sam Houser. -Yeah. -Your reclusive genius savant behind Rockstar Games. -Yeah. -And obviously Grand Theft Auto. I wanna-- we gotta dive into this because this is a guy that doesn't talk to anyone. -Yeah. -So, why Harold Goldberg? -You just-- it's that Goldbergy and charm you have? Like what-- like how did-- because this is the guy. -Yeah. -This is the guy that, you know, everyone tries to get. Can you describe someone that process? -I started thinking about a Sam Houser story around this time last year. -Yeah. -And I had spoken to Sam for my book All Your Base Are Belong to Us a few years ago. -Yeah. -And you know, we kind of got a long and that was a process of getting you know, trust and the part of Rockstar. -Right. -And it took a bit of a while. But you know, my goal with all stories is just go, you know, I will interview you and there are-- I can ask any question. -Sure. -And nothing is off the table. But I will also you know, I'm kind of a fan of Rockstar Games. -True. -And I think who isn't? So, I-- they began to trust me a few years ago and it was-- it still was a lot of process of getting in this time. As I said, I started early and then I was like, who do I want to have published the article? Because I think it's a kind of article because it's a rare interview that you-- that I as a journalist can go to various editors I know and say like, do you want this? But I ended up choosing Playboy primarily because the editor, Jason Buhrmester really knows his games. -Right. -I think you know Jason. -Sure. -And I felt that that was the right place to do it and it sounds weird in this day and age but other magazines for which I right don't know games as well. So, I felt that was in good hands with Jason so and also he's recently become executive editor and he's bringing in all sorts of great writers. I don't know how I get stuck among them but you know, you'll see a T.C. Boyle stories in there and just to do as a Playboy interview with Ai Weiwei. So, it's-- the articles are getting really good again and I felt that he would let me tell the story in exactly the way I want it to. -Right. -So, that's how it went to Playboy. So, then I would have felt I had to convince Rockstar that Playboy is the right place for and that was not so hard but what was hard was getting in because they were in crunch time for Grand Theft Auto 5. -Sure. -So, there were handful of times when we were going to do the interview and then we couldn't do the interview. And said-- and then there was one point where Sam was in Scotland, which that's where most of Grand Theft Auto 5 was made of Rockstar North. -Sure. Yeah. -And I-- you know, I think we're getting kind of close to a deadline which we all and kind of discussed. I can go to Scotland if you want and be, you know, we can do it there but I think that they were still doing a lot of work on it and I think you know, say I'm his bet from what I've seen, when he's like out clear hand and he's not wearing about our concern about other things like getting the game out. So, we talked I think in late August, maybe August 26th or something like. And it was great, it was-- -So close to launch, man. That's-- -Oh, it's so close to launch, you know, I thought perhaps it would go in an issue that would line up with launch but it didn't and what if had me-- if we had done it that month, I would have had maybe three days to turn around something that ended up about 6,000 words. -Wow. -So, then, you know, putting the transcript together. So-- because there's a long interview, brought it with me, it's about 90-- -Wow. -90 pages of transcript, so there's a lot we couldn't use. It's good but that's-- that primarily was the process, you know, and they called up at one point and said, you know, it's time and I was pretty much ready and kinda shadow over there. -Excellent. -Yeah. -So, you've got 90 pages of transcript. -Yeah. -You know, there's a lot to talk about. Primarily, you know, you had sometime with this guy where he's at his most intense sort of buckling down. What do you think did you learn about him the most? You said-- you say that if Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto is the Steven Spielberg of video games, Houser is the Martin Scorsese. -Well, what I meant by that, he's a little darker. -Right. -And-- but-- and you know, he really has been brought up with movies about crime, theft and-- -Sure. -so that hems the analogy. But when I talked to him, it was a combination of enthusiasm about the game, yet perhaps an apprehension of would it sell-- -Really? He was concerned about that? -Yeah, I've been-- I think-- I totally understand that. -Yeah. -I mean, you work for five years on something. So-- and then during that five years, the industry has changed a bit as well. -Sure. -So you also have a, you know, mobile and iPad being so popular and then you know, Max Payne 3 was a good game but didn't sell as well. So, you are-- and then other games that were supposed to sell really well this year didn't quite live up to expectation, so-- -Yeah. -So, that's-- I'm sure that's in the back of his mind when he talks about it. But we should not say he wasn't enthusiastic and-- -Sure. -you know, almost presenting the game as if it were present to the world but you know, one of the things he kind of always stresses is that there's a core group of guys at the top, -Uh-hmm. -which is his brother Dan and the two guys at Rockstar North. But you know, he goes out of his way maybe three or four times during the interview to say, you know, it's not just us, it's everyone else down the line. And you know, I think that's-- I think it's important to say. -Yeah. -You know, and the-- he also says he runs or Rockstar's run kind of like a family, which is unlike other game companies. -Especially ones owned by massive corporations that, you know, sort of oversee every last detail. It seems like Rockstar has a bigger freedom than perhaps other developers. -Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think so. I mean-- and that because sales are always-- -Sure. -are generally high. But the freedom I think also comes with a price. -Yeah. -Because it's kind of one like-- is if it were a family, certainly at the top. So, then you can't just fire a guy -Right. -if you're upset with him, you have to work it out. -True. -And you kind of went into detail about, you know, how that works. I mean, I think one of the things that has helped in recent years is that there is-- he's gotten into yoga. So, he's always got this excess energy and the yoga thing calms him down and there's a guy who's kind of a yoga master who comes into-- who has come into Rockstar and I think-- I think that's only helped, you know. -It's interesting because you wrote about that. You wrote about how he's turned into someone who considers yoga a big priority in his life. -Yeah. -He rides his bike to the office everyday, which is-- -Yeah. -kind of crazy and especially in New York. -Yeah. -You know, I think there's a lot that people don't know about the video game making in a process, especially when you compare to something like movies which-- which people kind of get. There is this sort of well-known language that people understand about behind-the-scenes movies where it comes to games, the public really is in the dark about that. And you couple that with the fact that Sam Houser is such a mysterious figure in the industry. What was the biggest sort of eye opening, oh my God, look at you know, look at something like this that he maybe does, you know, I mean you've interviewed countless figures in the industry. What was unique about him and his reclusiveness were shocked by? -You know, I-- he is very open and excited about talking about his game and series of games. -Right. -And more so than anyone I've ever interviewed, -Really. -which is not to say that others aren't enthusiastic or extremely knowledgeable about the process. If you track the world right to game, he made Sim City and The Sims. -Sure. -He's just very super intelligent and has his great theories about culture. -Uh-hmm. -If you call-- talk to Ken Levine, you can talk for hours about literature. -Sure. -And you know, how that may have inspired by the BioShock series. But Sam really knows pop culture and you know, he's the kind of guy you could-- if you had access to him you would wanna hang at a bar and just kind of shoot the breeze with him all night. -Right. -So, and I think that's what-- it's not a great revelation but it's great to hear someone that excited after so many years. I think he's been doing it for 15 with Rockstar and maybe 20 since he got into interactive stuff, to see someone who's still that excited after this many years, and I think part of that is they keep-- does keep himself away from a fair amount of the crap that goes on. So, they don't display their wares at E3. -Right. -And you know, they think that is almost-- I mean, I think some things of it as a waste of finances and time. -Uh-hmm. -So, if you can kind of keep yourself isolated yet be completely knowledgeable about what's going on of the game industry in New York and pop culture and culture at-- as a whole, then I think you've got a good grip on the pulse speed of your-- of the average gamer and then they really do. -There's a certain sort of built in, you know, paradox to that whole philosophies. Well though, because like you said, they are notably absent from a lot of the, you know, more public gaming stuff, you mentioned E3. When we go and you know, the entire year leading up to GTA 5's release, well as a very sort of secretive process, just similar to how it is with our editors when they deal with Apple. They have a very similar MO where it's, you know, very specifically, you know, curated and manicured to the point where you have an experience that they want you to have. What do you think-- how do you think that relates into them really resonating with the pop culture. You know, sort of angle of all their games, I mean, with GTA 5 they hit the nail on the head when it came to, you know, really milking that pop culture sort of identity. How do you think that all plays together? -Well, I-- it's kind of a hard question and answer-- -Yeah. -because it's-- I mean, I don't know what the secrets off except I know that they over deliver. -Absolutely. -And that's kind of really key, so, there's much more in a Rockstar game than in-- I don't wanna make comparisons to other games, -Sure. -but you know that you're getting a ton of content. -Absolutely. You're getting your money's worth. -Yeah, you're getting your money's worth, you're getting your sound tracks and you radio stations and just a lot of stuff to do. And it's a game I think that you can kind of sense as an open world game. You can kind of spend a long time in there and you have your, the online portion at a referral lot but it's getting better now so you can-- you can kind of live in that world for a longer period if you want. So, but why don't they feel the need to be more social with the media? I think Sam makes a point in the story about people wanted to be interviewed just for being interviewed and he kind of finds that unsavory. -Right. -And you know, I can see how almost anyone would just wanna have the art speak for itself if the art is selling well. -Sure. -You know, perhaps the art is no longer selling well, then you maybe feel forced to go out and flack it but you don't-- they don't really need to. -Right. He sort of goes a little into detail on the story about how the game has brought him some sort of personal angst. He feels like-- he kinda play-- he's kind of like, you know, on this double edge swords sort of situation where it's this great game but there's also a lot of scrutiny involves in the content and stuff like that. I'm very curious to hear what he-- how he personally responded to that or how he reacts. Clearly the game has its fair share of controversial material. How does he deal with that? -That's another tough one. -It's another tough one. I think he doesn't-- I can't speak for her. -Sure. -But I-- him-- but I kind of feel like he doesn't feel that it's a game steeped in controversy. He feels it's a game steeped in story which-- -Right, which it is. -which is-- and interesting game mechanics. But if he's inspired and the whole team at Rockstar North are inspired by films about crime, -Uh-hmm. -then of course, there will be some controversy involved. -Of course. -But I think it-- I think the idea is mainly to give gamers a good experience. I mean, you know, I want to sound like I think this is you now, the best series ever made. I leaned toward that. -Uh-hmm. -But you know, I think any good story has controversy. You can go back to Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, -Of course. -and there's just a lot of violence-- -Of course. -in that as well. So, I think that you need drama to keep a story going. -Absolutely. -And they do it well. So, but I also kind of feel like the controversy with the Grand Theft Auto series has peaked and it's not as much of media magnet for during its release for this horrible violence, etcetera. -Right. -And I think it's-- that I don't know if that ship has sailed but I think it's less of an issue that it was a few years ago. -It's-- yeah. I mean, to some degree I think we've, as a culture, moved on a little bit. I remember last time you were here we were talking about a new, a current event that was going on where they were kind of pointing the finger at stuff like GTA. -Yeah. -I mean, GTA has become this-- -Right, right. -ubiquitous sort of, you know, label, like the same way, you know, Kleenex is used for tissues or Xerox is for copies. You sort of say, oh, it's a GTA sort of situation for a violent video game. -Yeah. -And as you know, the head of the company that, you know, puts these things out and sort of like the puppet master of it all, I'm interest-- you know, to me that seems like there's a lot of built-in responsibility there, whether or not it's just. -Yeah. I mean, I think that they're certainly concerned about it. -Yeah. -Because they've been sued and then they've been pulled into these, -Right. -these controversies. But I think that's just-- it comes with the territory. -Oh, absolutely. -And I think you know, maybe the-- I think we talked about this in like the first few times that it happened, you're like, "Oh, my God." -Uh-hmm. -You know, why are they doing this to me? -Right, right. -But then once you've been through the nil with it, it's-- you kind of know what's special with it. -Sure. -So, then I think they're used to it a bit but, you know, I-- maybe it's still weird about violence because I was looking at the investigation into the Newtown murderer. -Sure, yeah. -And so they said, "oh, he plays all this violent games" and the game, the photo from his lair was of a Dance Dance Revolution. -Right. -Which he apparently played for 8 to 10 hours a day or something like that-- -Right. -when he did play it. So, that-- and that's not a violent game. -Of course. -So, I just don't know. -Yeah. -I mean, I think that this is a time where cable television needs ratings and websites need ratings. So, that's something that people go for. -Its sensational and people, you know, gravitate towards this. -Yeah. -It's just that. -Yeah. -I definitely recommend everyone to pick up the latest issue of Playboy, December 2013. The story is amazing. So-- -Thanks, man. Yeah. -Excellent job with that. -Yeah. -Make sure you check that out. -Yeah. -I wanna switch gears a little bit and talk about the-- not a follow up and now that it does this cleared, everyone has their next-generation consoles. -Yeah. -We have some time with them now. I read a story this morning that said Xbox won't actually-- may have beat out PlayStation 4 on Black Friday, which is something that probably no one really would expect but the kind of source material here is a little fuzzy. This is written by Matt Peckham from Techland. He says that a Black Friday calculating sort of startup called InfoScout came up with its own-- using its own sort of proprietary algorithm, which involves all this unique sort of crowd sourcing and social sharing and voluntary receipt photography. Have you heard about stuff like this? It's pretty out there. -Yeah. -So, he claims or rather InfoScout claims that Xbox One and Xbox 360 snatched up 61 percent of console cells at Walmart and Target or about 30 percent each when you compare them to PS4 and PS3, which seems you only grab 30 percent combined at those two retailers. Yeah, it's-- a metric like this kind of seems trivial at this point in the game but you know, what-- I mean, what do you think? Do you think-- have you been able to maybe siphon of a little bit of feeling. For me, I sort of like gauge my friends and gauge, you know, family and I feel like I have an unscientific sample group of about maybe two to three hundred people. -Uh-hmm. -And only a fraction and then even picked up next-generation consoles at this point in the game. -And that's because they're refined last generation consoles. -Right. -And so, regarding-- this is a good headline for Cyber Monday to have, -Right. -and especially in a plug, you know, whether it's Techland or anyone else's, well, this is interesting. Let's put it up. -Sure. -But it's-- with the consoles, it's a marathon now to Sprint. -Right. -So, I don't know if you know, what were we saying, a year from now I think is more salient than what we're saying right now about it. So, we'll see. I mean, and you know, it still is important. The artists are important to pick up, the consoles produce the games that carry these consoles through their generation. -Uh-hmm. -And you know, what are the great games that are coming out next year? That's more interesting to me than, you know, who bought over the weekend. -Right. It's a weird time because this really hasn't happened before. We haven't had a launch like this where obviously the two big players are seven days apart. It's a very strange situation that's sort of unfolding right now. I mean, you had time with both consoles. What's your sort of quick take and you know, because me, my reviews were pretty similar in the sense that, yes they're cool, they're impressive, they work well, they're pretty great. But the games really aren't there yet. In fact, -Yeah. -well, to be totally honest, they're not there yet. -Well, not-- I mean, you know, we're good to-- your comment reminded me over something Sam Houser said and some-- which is why develop this early-- -Right. -for a next generation console when it may not-- may not fully understand the software. -Sure. -And you can't push it to the level that you need for both game mechanics and graphic quality. But I'm leaning a little bit toward the PlayStation 4 at this point. -Uh-hmm. -But they're both fairly close -Yeah. -to each other in bells and whistles. I did find and you know, maybe this is something you could help with but I did find that I'm shouting a little more with the-- with Kinect -Yeah. -than I am with the PlayStation 4 camera. -Yeah. -And I thought that I would be and is there a way to like tweak that at all? -You can-- -That you could like you missed-- sounds like I'm a bit softer voice wise. So, can you make it more-- -It's-- you know, it's funny bringing it up because that was, you know, one of the big knocks I had against Kinect, was that well, I only really have like a 70 to 75 percent success rate when talking to it. -Yeah. -And I think, you know, that's kind of jarring, you know, for something that's really being pin-dust like the focal feature, the feature that people really are kind of blown away. You know, like that-- you know, you're spending that extra $100. -Yeah. -You want this thing to work each and every time. -Yeah. -Over the weekend, I had been keeping track of you know, how many times saying "Xbox On" work the first time. And you know, I got my-- I was-- I had my preview console in early November and I was keeping track and out of the first 100 attempts, only 68 times that it work the first time and you know, that's not great. -That's not great. -That's not great at all. I would think you'd want it maybe in the high '80s, low '90s. So, to me, I don't know how that gets better. Like you said, you're a self-spoken guy. It's-- you find yourself shouting at it. -Yeah and I don't wanna shout, man. -Yeah. -It's like, you know, -Exactly. -I have a writer data fighting. -Exactly, man. -I don't wanna shout at my TV because then I get someone else in the house say, "Shut up, man." -Yeah. -"Why you're yelling at the TV?" -Yeah, why are you yelling at the television? -Yeah, yeah. -I feel like I'm talking with my grandma. -Yeah. -I really do and I'm like, "No, up there. He's in high school." You know, and it's like that-- -Exactly. -thing I got going on with Kinect right now. -Yeah. -It's just really weird grandparent experience, -Yeah. -who's hard of hearing and doesn't really know where they are. -I mean, they were-- you know, they were restoring that, that opening day. -Yeah. -I mean, I remember getting a call from them because of a story I've written and they were just-- I could see that the Microsoft person had been up all night and he was very stressed out. -Uh-hmm. -I think they'll get it right. There'll probably be another, there'll be a software update with Kinect and-- -Sure. -it will be better. But you know, I'm leaning toward PlayStation but that, you know, its camera is not as high tech as Kinect. -Right. -But you know, I like the form factor but one thing I don't like about any of these-- either of these new boxes is that it requires that I still keep the old boxes. So, under my TV I now have five consoles and-- -I know. -You know, I'm upset about that. -And you're running out of HDMI ports I bet. -Oh, yeah. Well, I bought this thing from China, which lets me put like six HDMI ports into one port. -Yeah. -So, that's a savior in a way but it's-- it's just-- it's annoying. I mean, we use the one that's backwards compatible. -Right. -And so, I mean-- -Who would have thought? -But-- who would have thought? Well, they must have made this decision saying that no one plays old games or if they do you can buy again. -But what I don't understand and-- -From our store. -And you're right. That is the answer. -Yeah. -They just want you to buy it again. You can't sit there and tell me that PS4 and Xbox 360 can't have-- or Xbox One can't have built-in backwards compatible emulation. -Yeah. -I mean, come on, I get it. The hardware is not there, the architecture is different but you're also talking-- you know, we also live in a world of emulation where you can easily recreate those environment. -Oh, yeah. -Yeah. -So, this is not rocket science and they did it with PlayStation 3 going back to PS2 and they did it with PS2 going back to PS1, and they did it with Xbox 360. -Yeah. -So, this is not a crazy thing and you're right. Now, I find myself, you know, struggling with that and you know, my Xbox 360 is still the console that gets played most in my house. -Uh-hmm. Yeah. -You know, to me, it's just a really upset and sort of reality when you know down the line the Xbox 360 classics will hit the store and you'll be able to pay the $20 or whatever it is to download and then play them on your Xbox One. -Yeah, to me that's the most annoying part of this new-generation. -Yeah. -So, you can't go back, because I mean, it's sort of a story-end. I'd love to go back occasionally. -Of course. -Although I've never started to go back but I want the option to do that. -Yeah, absolutely. -Yeah. -And you know, when you wanted to go back on a PS2 game, you know, PlayStation at then we release the HD remakes and stuff like that and you know, I don't know how well those sell but you know, it seems like it's well and green and part of their business model. -Yeah, yeah. -For sure. -Yeah. -All right. We're getting towards the end of the year. I can't believe it's December already. It's crazy but we're kind of getting ready to label games as Best of the Year. -Best of the Year. -And you know, I think, you know, it kind of goes without saying that GTA 5 is probably a really good shoe horn contender for Game of the Year but then you have about maybe six to a dozen titles that also really deserve a lot of a claim. What's kind of floating in the top five for you? -Wow. You know, I really have not considered that-- could start considering it this you know, sometime in the next week or so. But I'd still like BioShock Infinite. I know that folks look back on it, who had given it high ratings and then look back on it and say it's not quite what we thought it was. But you know, I like a good story and I felt a totally good story. -Right. -And so I think that BioShock Infinite is a contender. Man, you know, I like Animal Crossing New Leaf a lot. -I knew you're gonna say that. I knew that was gonna seek in there. -Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think that's, you know, Nintendo has had a fair amount of good games that share and that one is just, such an odd game in the sense that if you are thinking about characterization, there's a wide variety about characters in that game. -Absolutely. -So, that kind of gets me going and there's a lot to do and you know, you go in Halloween and there are these weird things going on. So, it-- I think that's something that is up there as well. I like Force of Five in the sense that it's a game for cheaters. Like you can happily cheat because everyone else is cheating. -Right. -You can roll back like five seconds or ten seconds. It'll cost you like this little bit of-- -Just fine. -coinage-- -Yeah, yeah. -that you've accumulated and do it again. So, that's-- that you know, it allows you for-- to kind of lie and still have bragging rights. -Right and make it work. -Yeah. So, I like that-- I try to think what else but that's-- you know, the-- have the New York Videogame Critics Circle and people during the course of the year talk about you know, what games might be over this so we don't forget. -Right. -So, this Lara Croft, Tom Raider, like something we should think about is going home. The Indie Game is something we should think about. -For sure. -Then there's a lot to think about and you know, where to put those games, what to reward them, you know, what's best narrative, -Right. -and what's best indie and you know, is there an indie that crosses over to become best game or something like Bastian kind of data a few years ago. -Exactly. That's a tough, you know, bouncing act there because you know, there's a lot of indie games that are clearly, you know, in a category by themselves where it's perhaps not appropriate to put them in the same place as, you know, your blockbuster titles And then you have games like on home and I even thought Kentucky Route Zero looks like-- -Yeah. -something that really surprised me this year. -Yeah. -The Stanley Parable as well, -Yeah. -which is just blowing me away. -Yeah, yeah. -There's a lot of stuff to consider. I mean, I think you gotta mention The Last of Us. That's gonna be in the conversation for sure. -Yeah, The Last of Us, some people would even say beyond through souls, you know, despite certain things about maybe best acting in there or something like that. -Yeah. -So, I-- you know, I don't know. I mean, I do feel that GTA 5 is you know, very, very strong and I'm not sure that that can be beaten but we'll see. -Yeah. -Yeah. -I mean, you know, and there's a lot to consider and you know, for me, when I make this list every year, that I always just sort of feel sneaks up on me and I'm like, oh, my God. It's December 15th, it's time to get this up to doing. -Yeah, yeah. -To me, you know, it's-- I want something that has great value built-in. -Yeah. -I think that's-- I know that's a component that to me is pretty important-- -Yeah. -because $60 is a lot of money to spend on a video game for people. -Oh, yeah, yeah. -So, you know-- -No, they really-- there's something I always consider as-- -Yeah. -you know, if you end up with 8 hours of game plays, that game play rich in us -Right. -to spend that kind of money on a game. -Yeah. -And sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. That kind of ended up like in Disney Infinity, like for kids. -Yeah, for sure. -And I just remember one of the things about that game was that the introduction was one of the stunning and compelling introductions that I've ever seen in any game. -Right. -And it just made you feel like you're inside this world of Disney, which is not, just say the whole game was that compelling, but it's like, wow, how did they do that for just the beginning of the game. -Yeah. -That must have cost millions and millions-- -Right. -just for the beginning. -Yes. -For sure. -Yeah. -You know, I wondered. Do you think there's any next, exclusive next-gen title that even deserves to get mentioned in this sentence? -Well, I think that Force of Five is good in certain ways, but I mean it's still a series. -Right. -And so I try-- I don't know. You know, I mean there's decent games but there's not-- I don't think there's any like super great games yet. -Right, for sure. -You know, I mean, I'm a Killzone fan. I like what Herman Hulst does at Guerrilla Games. But is it like the best game of the year? I don't know, you know, I don't know. I think we'll be talking more next-gen next year. -Yeah, absolutely. -You know, it's what's really great. -For sure. -You know, we have Titan Fall coming out for Xbox One and you know, Sony has a few great games coming out. So, you know, we'll see. -A year from now is gonna be a very interesting time, that's for sure. -Yeah. -Great. Well, Mr. Harold Goldberg, always a pleasure, sir. Make sure you follow Harold on Twitter @haroldgoldberg. The book is still always ready and available for sale, All Your Base Are Belong to Us. -Oh, man. You gotta buy that thing for the holidays. -Absolutely, 100 percent. And again, check out the story, the profile of Sam Houser in the December 2013 Playboy issue, which is on shelves right now. Always such a pleasure having you here, man. Well, we'll have you back very soon. -Yes, same here, Jeff. I'll climb the wall next time. -I know. We're gonna rock, we're gonna get you in the harness. It's gonna happen and then make an episode out of it. That will do it for us. I am headed to San Francisco tomorrow but I will be back one week from today. Justin will be here the rest of the week, filling in and having guests and whatnot. So, until then, we'll see you guys tomorrow. 866-404-CNET is the number to call. You can reach us through e-mail the404@cnet.com. That's gonna do it for us. I'm Jeff Bakalar. -I'm Ariel Nuñez. -A big thanks again to Mr. Harold Goldberg. Always a pleasure, sir. -Thanks, man. -We'll see you guys very soon. Have a good one.

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