Hitman (2016) Review

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I’ve decided it’s been long enough since we’ve had another chill, blog-exclusive article; and what better way to do it than with another game review?

 

This time, I wanted to try my hand at Hitman 2016. It’s been awhile since I’ve last played it, but I wanted to put some notes down for it anyway since it was a pretty fun experience. Overall I definitely believe this is a contender alongside Blood Money for best assassination game, but let’s get into the nitty gritty details.

 

Gameplay – 9/10

Gameplay is honestly what I believe is the clear advantage for Hitman 2016. There is so much to do in this game; so many combinations, so many challenges, so many routes, and so many weapons. And yet, despite this, the game is very simple at its core; there’s only a couple of maps and the core game loop is essentially Clue (kill X with Y in the Z costume). This massive amount of diversity in the game loop is what makes it so appealing; each new variation of the map and mode teaches you more about the map, allowing you to do progressively cooler things and gain more unlocks, to teach you more about the map, etc. etc.

 

Art – 6/10

While a lot of these environments are very pretty, the art is mostly pretty generic. I mean, it’s a modern shooty game, what were you really expecting? Typically I would give this a mild score of 5, but I will give some credit to the ultra-beautiful Sapienza, Marrakesh, and Bangkok  maps.

 

Music – 7/10

The soundtrack of Hitman 2016 is the surprise hit of all the categories. While Blood Money did have a iconic soundtrack, I think this soundtrack was less iconic because it was good and more because you heard the same tracks over and over again trying to complete a mission. There’s a lot more diversity to 2016’s music, and it definitely vitalizes the spy intrigue feel of the game. There’s no tracks on here that you’d listen to on repeat, but it fits the game very well.

 

Story – 5/10

Hitman’s story is overall fairly inoffensive. To be fair, it’s always been this way; pretty much exactly the same. Not really much to discuss here; just your classic spy intrigue/revenge story.

 

Extra – 4/5

For my extra points, I’ll repeat what I said in the gameplay section; there’s a lot to do here. The pure amount of content in the GOTY edition will keep you satisfied for a very long time. Better yet, it’s my favorite kind of game; a game that’s very quick and simple to beat, but long and difficult to complete.

 

Total Score: 31/40, 77.5% — GOOD

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do high quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Who Makes the Culture?

 

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Photo by Adam Muise on Unsplash

 

The culture of a given place and time is filled with a variety of complex cogs and elements. Still, the origins of a “culture” arises somewhere; the memetics and development of fads and fashions of the time all have a beginning. So, who makes the culture?

First you can look at the artists. Without Kanye West, or Game of Thrones, or Harry Potter, the world would be a very different place. These artists and their art place a foundation to how culture is prescribed. Different echelons of culture take inspiration from different types of art as well; some communities may favor cultural expression with something like Game of Thrones, whereas others might take it in the direction of Sailor Moon or Black Dynamite. The important thing is that these pieces of art influence the direction of the subgroup in one way or another.

Of course, though art does define a good chunk of the culture, it does not define all of it. Current events, political or otherwise, also shape the society. Drawn out news fads can often leave a deeper, more subtler impression on the state as a whole. Turbulent political times frame the outlook of a society, which is then manifested within the culture itself.

So, in summary of these two points: we can say that artists “make” the long-form general culture, which is then, at fixed points, is affected by the stance of the current climate of events. This climate is the second largest factor towards developing the culture. I would then say, at a micro-level, group dynamics play the final solidifying piece in developing the culture. A group is given the art and the climate, and must develop their own unique narrative based on these concepts. And so, these three distinct layers form the final culture cake.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do high quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Sunsetting the AstukaGaming Brand

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From 2012 to 2014 you started seeing a lot of brands on Youtube pop up in relationship with groups of people playing videogames, whether it be specifically for lets plays or just general gaming content. Around the summer of 2014 a group of friends and I thought of our own idea for a group, where we would collectively stream and upload videos related to gaming content. This group was called AstukaGaming.

Although this project was originally meant to last multiple “seasons” (summers) it only really lasted one with the whole group. Afterwards, a friend of mine and I ran a podcast under the AstukaGaming name from around 2015 to 2017. After this podcast ended, the AstukaGaming name was practically completely eaten up by the “astukari” brand, though in some places the AstukaGaming brand still stuck, whether it be the color palette or the logo or in the name itself.

Today, however, I’ve finally decided to get rid of the rest of the AstukaGaming brand. There’s a one main reason for this, so I’ll boil it down: The AstukaGaming brand in the past has been primarily connected to the podcast and the youtube channel and nothing else. Since I’m really getting tired of the podcast and the rest of the youtube channel is mostly branded as “astukari” at this point, there’s nothing else to really be called by that name.

So, moving forward, we’ll be going through the changes. Today the Discord server (for those who care) will be renamed from “AstukaGaming” to its old title “Gucci Gang”. The podcast will continue, but on a fairly inconsistent basis, up until the Podbean subscription ends. Beyond this, nothing else should be affected; that include primarily the blog and the newsletter.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do high quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

What the Definition of Luck Really Is

 

 

Luck is a hard, complex thing. No successful person has ever (truthfully) said their success was all based around skill; there is always a wide amount of chance in every major victory. And yet, it’s hard to genuinely define this aspect – calling luck simply a factor of chance raises all sorts of complicated problems. What’s the “probability” of success? Is it the same as a flip of a coin? Can we statistically define luck? Is the probability of being “lucky” in starting a business really equivalent to the number of companies that last more than 5 years? More than 10 years? What about a heavily cited research paper? Or having a successful album release?

 

Of course, barely anyone truly believes that luck is purely a derivation of chance. And yet, I believe the fact that this is embroiled into the mindset of many people is precisely because of an improper definition of what luck truly is. The best definition of luck I’ve ever heard is that it is “created” with the help of two broad categories: consistency and opportunity. Opportunity itself is of many moving parts, and is responsible for most of the complexity of luck – things like current status, geography, education, network, etc. These pieces are mostly outside the scope of this article (though may be covered in detail in a later segment), so instead what I want to focus on is this first piece, consistency. Consistency, when executed properly, brings opportunity. The thing is that consistency isn’t quite an easy task in itself;  it takes more than a bit of operation. High-quality consistency requires exorbitant amounts of patience, proper long-term goal planning, and many, many extensions from the comfort zone. It also requires you to be able to tell if what you’re being consistent in is really worth you being consistent in it. Do you have the skill required for competitive advantage? Are you genuinely passionate about what you are doing? I feel as though all these questions, all these aspects, make up what luck really is. When people say luck, in reality, they’re giving a simple, generalized term for a variety of complex factors that are often hard to pinpoint. That being said, you’ll always find luck in opportunity, and you’ll always find opportunity inconsistency. Luck might feel like a hard thing to get, but remember; you only have to hit the home run once. And besides, if everyone was lucky, would any of it really matter?

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.

 

How to develop intellectual success in future generations

 

 

Intellect is a complicated problem, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous posts. There is really no good heuristic or measure out there for what makes a person truly “intelligent” (if you say IQ is a valid example, I’m going to be mad; more on that in approximately 10 weeks). However, I do believe there is a method behind allowing for the intellectual success of a person, especially at a young age.

Let me give a bit of an example so what I’m saying here actually makes sense: let’s say you have a person who was born “very smart” (we’ll say high logical-mathematical intelligence) but was born into a situation where perhaps resources are thin; say a poorer neighborhood with parents who have not really succeeded too much historically in education or otherwise. Because of this, it is going to be really hard for the said person to now “unlock” their intelligence and go on to utilize it cause they’ve never really had a chance to. Because of this, the edge of their ability gets duller as time goes on, and the competitive advantage is lost.

Extrapolating this slightly, I think now that this same problem is very much correlated with the mindset problem I discussed a few months back. You can’t get into a healthy mindset as easily if you aren’t surrounded by people who have this mindset. It doesn’t just have to be parents; it also includes friends, teachers, and a general outside support group. Since it is so hard to have the mindset to “unlock” potential or intelligence, I feel as though this is an overwhelming problem; people don’t just ignore following a healthy mindset, some outwardly reject its existence and mock people who try following it. This all comes back to how intellectual success is so hard to come by in general; if generation after generation is actively pushing against it, other people are going to fall off and fail.

I wish I had a better solution to this problem rather than “just stop doing this”, but I don’t. I do think the internet has helped a lot in this capacity – it certainly helped me – in the way that educational resources are easy to come by and that people can more readily make “mentors” out of people they might not necessarily know but be able to read the blog or watch the podcast of. Still, most people don’t use the internet for this; they use it instead for cat pictures and video game streams. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, it can provide a more “medicated” view of the world and distract us from these alternate entryways into intellectual success.

Despite the fact that I do not have a clear answer, I do think things will get better. I do believe as more people learn – as more people get out of the vicious cycle – that this problem will begin to mitigate. I just don’t know when it will happen.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.

What is the Purpose of Dreams?

 

 

To be honest, when I had put this down in my notes of things to talk about, it was a long time ago. So now I’m a bit confused whether “dreams” is meant to be in a literal or abstract sense. Are we talking Freud, a la the dreams you get from sleeping, or dreams as in wide, aspirational goals?

Well, why not talk about both? After all, I believe that both are truly important; and I believe both relate to one another greater than it might seem.

First, we’ll start with aspirations. The purpose of dreams, in this case, can be made apparent in setting ourselves to somewhere higher than we currently are. We may, in the end, not reach our lofty goals; it’s fine. It happens. But it can almost be completely assured that where you end up after all the pieces fall into place will be immensely greater than you were at the beginning. I’m a realist, but I’m also a believer in doggedly following one’s dreams, solely because of the places it will take you. I believe that following the bigger things in life causes us to learn bigger things about ourselves.

And I also think we learn bigger things about ourselves every night when we sleep. The concept of dreams has always fascinated me, though their purpose has always evaded me. After studying my dreaming habits for a few years, it seems that the only things that really come out of most dreams are just whatever was top of mind the night before. And yet… it’s not always like this. Occasionally a dream will come up from the depths and rocket punch you in the stomach. Sometimes it will leave you with a sour taste in your mouth, or an entirely blissful day. Sometimes it will cause you to despise a person, or long to talk to them. I believe these moments are when the power of purpose of dreams truly come out. I believe that this is an inner voice within us, deep below our consciousness, trying to point us to what we need to see. And I believe that this inner voice is the same thing that tells us what we must aspire to.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.