2017

La mulți ani!

Cu bune, cu rele, 2016 a trecut și e timpul să ne concentrăm cu toții din nou pe următorul an. Perioada Anului Nou este mereu una care ridică întrebări pentru fiecare individ, momente pentru a reflecta - faci destule? ce vrei de la viitor? ești fericit? dorești să schimbi ceva în viața ta? Poate că, totuși, nu toți avem aceste gânduri, dar știu sigur că eu le am mereu. Meditând asupra lor, am luat decizia să scriu acest text. El va acționa ca un punct de plecare spre un viitor, sper eu, mai bun, și totodată ca un impuls pentru vremurile în care motivația nu mai e la nivelul la care trebuie să fie.

Ah, motivația... Unul dintre conceptele cu care mereu am impresia că am avut probleme în cei 27 de ani ai mei. Un altul ar fi timpul. Cele două sunt, oarecum, conectate. Mereu am impresia că nu am timp să fac tot ce îmi doresc, dar pe măsură ce mă gândesc mai mult la acest lucru îmi dau seama că de fapt, totul e în mintea mea. Am timp să fac multe lucruri importante, dar vreau să fac mult prea multe lucruri care e posibil să fie inutile. Dat fiind că îmi doresc să le fac dar am impresia că nu am timp, ambiția de a le duce la bun sfârșit se scurge, iar din cauza asta nu sunt mulțumit de multe aspecte ce țin de viața mea.

 Photo by Rocky89/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Rocky89/iStock / Getty Images

E timpul să schimb foaia. În loc să îmi doresc să fac multe dar nu fac decât puține, voi încerca să-mi țin în frâu dorințele care nu au o bază substanțială și să încerc să duc la capăt lucrurile despre care sunt convins că mă ajută.

Așadar, ce-mi doresc eu de la 2017 și de la ce va urma după? Vreau să acționez într-un mod profesionist, motivat și decis în oricare lucru pe care îl fac. E nevoie să aleg și să discern mai clar între ce e nevoie și bine să fac și ce doar îmi doresc pentru o recompensă prea mică sau prea de scurtă durată. Există câteva categorii clare înspre care îmi îndrept momentan atenția: cititul, scrisul și bunăstarea mea fizică și mentală.

Îmi place să citesc și o fac destul de des, dar îmi dau seama tot mai mult că o fac fără să urmăresc o agendă bine stabilită. Citesc de multe ori lucruri neimportante care mă atrag pe moment, citesc uneori pe fugă, citesc inconstant și citesc de multe ori fără să bag la cap sau să aprofundez ideile și gândurile pe care cuvintele mi le oferă. E timpul să schimb asta, așa că mi-am făcut o idee legată de lucrurile pe care doresc să le lecturez cu adevărat - cele care mă ajută să fiu mai informat despre ce contează pentru mine și cele care îmi produc adevărată plăcere. Cărțile vor ocupa un loc mai important în viața mea decât până acum, dar articolele despre lucurile care mă preocupă vor fi și ele mai importante - nu mai vreau biblioteci pline de cărți pe care le pot eticheta „necitite” și liste întregi de bookmark-uri în browser pe care scrie „UITĂ-TE MĂ AICI” sau „DE CITIT”.

Îmi place și să scriu, dar de prea multe ori mi-e greu să mă apuc de treabă. Fluxul gândurilor m-ar ajuta să fiu destul de prolific în acest aspect al vieții mele, dar de prea multe ori comoditatea sau alte ispite îmi alungă aceste gânduri înainte ca ele să devină cuvinte scrise pe o foaie sau postate pe Internet. Va trebui să lucrez pentru a-mi îmbunătăți eficiența. Despre asta e vorba - despre luatul inițiativei atunci când se ivește oportunitatea și despre o interdicție pe care trebuie să mi-o aplic însumi de a amâna lucruri. Interdicția asta nu ar trebui să se rezume numai la scris, e clar, dar aici poartă o importanță mai mare. De prea multe ori am amânat până la anulare articole și texte pe care mi-ar fi plăcut să le pot reciti cândva în viitor și despre care sunt convins că și alții ar fi fost curioși să le citească. Deși fluxul gândirii mele are un debit mare, lucrurile se pierd rapid dacă nu sunt puse în practică - în acest caz, în scris. Pe deasupra, plătesc bani buni pentru ca site-ul ăsta să fie vizibil și să arate bine. Nu am nicio scuză pentru faptul că nu este populat la fel de mult precum mi-aș dori.

Despre bunăstarea mea fizică și mentală sunt multe de zis de asemenea, dar toate pot fi rezumate la comoditatea și lipsa ambiției de care am vorbit mai devreme. Vreau să devin un om mai sănătos din punct de vedere fizic și voi lua măsuri în acest sens. Îmi voi face un program - o componentă extrem de importantă pentru a-mi pune la punct dorințele enumerate aici - și mă voi ține de el până va deveni o rutină plăcută. Nu vreau ca ea să-mi ocupe prea mult timp, însă vreau să fiu eficient și încet-încet vreau să fiu tot mai mândru de condiția mea fizică, care s-a deteriorat în ultimii ani. Îmi doresc ca lunile în care mersul la fotbal cu prietenii o dată sau de două ori să nu mai fie singurele momente în care mă ocup de corpul meu.

Sănătatea mentală va veni odată cu punerea în practică a tuturor lucrurilor la care m-am gândit zilele acestea. Sunt sigur că respectarea unui program și unor principii mai clare decât până acum mă va ajuta. Gândurile mele vor fi mai clare, mai ordonate și nu-mi vor mai ieși din minte în secunda următoare apariției lor. Totul se va închega într-un sistem eficient pecum un contraatac cursiv se încheie cu gol într-un meci de fotbal.

Nu doresc să-mi propun niște ținte concrete. Sigur, sunt aspecte în care fără să am în vedere anumite numere nu pot realiza progrese. Progresul cel mare va fi însă limpede de deslușit pe măsură ce trece timpul - voi fi mai fericit cu viața mea.

Vreau să fac din 2017 cel mai bun an pe care îl voi trăi. Asta până ce va veni 2018, desigur. Am nevoie de ambiție, de motivație, de eficiență și de respectarea unor lucruri chiar dacă par neplăcute pe moment. Pe termen lung, satisfacția va fi cu siguranță mai mare.

F1 2016 review - Codemasters' best Formula 1 game yet

F1 2016 is the most immersive Formula 1 game to date and has made a big leap forward with new and old features coming together to form an all-star release for Codemasters' franchise.


Ever since Codemasters first bought the rights to make official Formula 1 games back in 2008, the company has been the main creator of these niche racing video game titles. It all started with F1 2009 and through the years it is fair to say some games were better than others. This year's release, F1 2016, blows away all previous editions, staying true to its promise - delivering the most realistic and feature-full game yet.

F1 games are not the kind you would expect to spring any big surprises, since the basics always involve some specific cars racing other specific cars on specific circuits of the glamorous Formula 1 world. That being said, F1 2016 manages to merge these basics brilliantly with some new features, also bringing back enhanced versions of ones that were present in previous games of the franchise.

Starting out with the obvious, the game offers the official 11 cars that one can race on the 22 different circuits of the Formula 1 2016 season. This includes the new arrival of the Haas and the brand-new Baku street circuit, which has been well received by the community. There is not much else to say about the cars and circuits themselves. The engine sounds have been slightly refined to match the real ones more and some tracks have been slightly altered for the same reasons, successfully.

When jumping in game, the main interface the user must use feels very much like the one in previous titles, which is not a bad thing at all. Options can be easily found and tweaked, and the different game modes available are also easy to select using the main menu. F1 2016 puts you in the racesuit of one of the current Formula 1 drivers in Championship Season mode, offers standard Quick RacesTime Trials and a Multiplayer mode that you can test yourself in alongside other racers online.

Alongside (I should really say On top of) all of these stands a greatly refined career mode that has been desperately missing from F1 2015. Over a 10 season-long period, racers can now enjoy the life of a Formula 1 driver after creating their own avatar and choosing which team to start for. The career mode also has some new features that will make Formula 1 fans jump with joy.

Practice sessions now come with various practice programs that one can run just like in real life. These include track acclimatization and tire management stints that can earn you points, which lead to the next big thing - research and development. With the help of the points gathered by clearing objectives the team sets in practice sessions as well as qualifying and races, one can invest in upgrades that enhance the performance of the car in different areas.

Finally, jumping in a Manor and taking it all the way to the top can be achieved through something more than just plain race pace - one can actually upgrade the car to become even faster than the feared Mercedes. However, it's not easy and it takes time and patience, because other teams will come with upgrades of their own during the seasons. Overall, thanks to the actual Formula 1 regulation changes (more tires and strategy options) and the new features, the career mode for F1 2016 is vastly improved and more enjoyable than ever.

 Tyre management can be a handful in practice when there's a time requirement too, as this writer found out.

Tyre management can be a handful in practice when there's a time requirement too, as this writer found out.

If you're only into racing fast and want to skip the organizational part of the game (which would be a pity since it is very well done and has plenty of elements to enjoy), F1 2016 also comes with other goodies. Race starts have just become more immersive with two new features to improve them - formation laps and manual starts. What better way to gain an edge over your rivals than warming up your tires properly on the formation lap and then blasting off the line with reactions that leave others stuck in first gear? Drivers on the grid have different reaction times each race, which means starts will be interesting and much more important than before.

Safety Cars and the Virtual Safety Car system are now also back in the game and contribute further to the realism level it offers. F1 2016 comes with the usual in-game settings the franchise has treated us with up until now too, so there is enjoyment out there for all kinds of racers. Whether you are a newcomer to the scene of racing games or a die-hard Formula 1 fanatic, there are options out there suitable for everyone.

The AI drivers seem to have been tweaked a little bit, their movement and behavior on track more realistic, and Codemasters has also added a new option for the brave - ultimate AI difficulty, which is even harder than the still existing legend. Furthermore, there is now a simulation damage option in the game settings that allows the most amount of damage to be taken by a car on impact - try racing on Monaco in the wet with this option on.

Pro Career is the ultimate Formula 1 driving test available in the game - a career mode where all assists are turned off, the difficulty is set to ultimate and there is no HUD whatsoever. Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton could find it interesting.

Having not spoken about any negative parts of the game, you might wonder if this game is perfect. It isn't. There are some things that still need to be polished, like some sessions where one AI driver sets an impossible time on the board (think 6s around Melbourne), or messages that don't show up properly on the HUD. Having gone through all the good bits by now, these ones pale in comparison and hopefully they will be addressed soon.

The career span could have been greater than 10 seasons and the progression element is not felt fully because the same drivers will drive for the same teams each season, but licencing elements have made Codemasters unable to implement any kind of changes to this system - new drivers coming into the scene, teams withdrawing from F1, and so on. Maybe after Bernie.

All in all, racing on different circuits in different cars felt good and as real as it can get by today's standards. The graphics the game offers look as crisp as ever - Codemasters also added a feature that will hold your wheel to the car when crashing using tethers instead of it bouncing around the track -, the menus are fluid and loading times are, at least in my experience, greatly reduced compared to last year's title. Oh, and did I mention you can actually talk with your engineer using your microphone?

F1 2016 has made a very positive leap from the games the franchise released in the past. At 50€, it is definitely worth buying if you think you might invest time in it. With a career mode that is better than ever and updated race features, Codemasters have answered many issues the gaming community had with its Formula 1 games.

That being said, the bar will be set very high in the future and it will be interesting what can F1 2017 come up with next.

Rating: 8/10; 4*

PC version of F1 2016 was tested for this review.

No Man's Sky review - Not for every man

No Man's Sky divides opinion but is still a great exploring game that can only get better.


After countless delays and riding a huge hype wave, No Man's Sky was finally released this August and it is fair to say that, throughout time, not many games managed to divide opinion as much as this one.

In No Man's Sky, you explore a procedurally created universe full with 18 quintillion unique planets. Starting on a randomly allocated planet with your ship wrecked to bits, your first goal is gathering materials in order to repair it. After that, the universe is yours to freely do what you like among what seems like an infinite number of solar systems which you can "warp" between.

In the short aftermath of the game's release, players have criticised it and developer Hello Games for countless things including lying about features the game was supposed to offer and didn't. For the avid fan who had huge expectations from this title, No Man's Sky can become repetitive and boring after a few hours. But looking on the bright side of things, it still offers a unique experience that for some manages to hide its flaws. 

The vastness of the world available to discover is astonishing. This fact alone contributes on both sides of the coin. You can very easily find a similar repeating pattern upon travelling from planet to planet and from one star system to another, mining and trading your way towards some random objective you set out to complete. But on the other hand, the vastness in itself can lead to some amazing discoveries, beautiful sights and adventurous gameplay moments.

Some people may find not having an end-goal that is set in stone demoralizing. Sure, there is the centre of the Universe there to discover, but you may find the game more fun when setting out to do your own stuff. For those of you who truly just want to explore new worlds and to live childhood dreams of travelling through the universe, this game may captivate you fully. 

 Three different sized planets, one moon and a spaceship - the game offers numerous breathtaking moments like this.

Three different sized planets, one moon and a spaceship - the game offers numerous breathtaking moments like this.

Exploring is the key word here. Sure, there are space fights, mining and searching for resources, learning alien languages, some sort of dialogue interaction with said aliens, fending off that pesky weird looking animal/monster that keeps attacking you, fighting sentinel drones, escaping storms and blizzards and hoarding money to buy that beautiful spaceship you desperately want to have. 

But when the line is drawn, this game is all about exploring new worlds and living the experience of travelling through space with relative freedom and finding out what's out there. Although it can feel boring at times after a while, it can get better if one keeps playing because of certain features that one can only unlock after some good hours of playtime. That and the chance of meeting something new and rare add to the excitement.

The apparent lack of multiplayer options can cause a headache, especially since the developers stated that it will be available. This being said, if you want to buy the game for some cool playtime with your friends, this is not the title for you. No Man's Sky is best enjoyed alone - just you and the stars and planets above. The small chance of you stumbling upon a planet or system that was already discovered by another player can add to the "so I am not alone after all" feeling, but don't count on that.

 65daysofstatic's soundtrack for the game is worth buying alone.

65daysofstatic's soundtrack for the game is worth buying alone.

One of the biggest positive aspects of the game must be the sounds that accompany you on your journey. The sound effects are very well done, starting with the robotic voice that constantly bugs your ear with information, going through the various spaceship sounds you hear while flying and ending with the overall atmosphere that animals, wind, rain, various technologies and all other elements create during the time spent on a planet. 

The music is also magnificent. 65daysofstatic managed to create an imersive score that is generated as you play the game, and the actual soundtrack album is absolutely perfect - one of the best albums of the year if you ask me.

The game's graphics don't seem to be out of this world for 2016 standards, but somehow, No Man's Sky manages to procedurally generate some amazing sights that you can only try and screenshot every time you witness them. It is a title for casual gamers and romantics that love to take slow walks in nature, not for the hardcore achievement-hungry competitive players. Because of this, the 60€ price tag may scare off some people, and it can be understandable.

All in all, No Man's Sky is a glorious game that has the downside of having to deal with the fact that it can get a lot better in time, if certain features make it into the game. Hopefully, they will. Hello Games has stated that it will constantly improve the game with their small team, and although many people will say otherwise, their accomplishment in releasing a game this big and interesting is reason enough to buy it.

No Man's Sky could just be the start of a whole new game subgenre and it can only get better.

Rating: 7/10, 3.5*

 PC version of No Man's Sky was tested for this review.


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