Level 11: Quicksand

by Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo

Catherine Zeta-Jones begins the level by stating: “A reaper giggles besides two pits of quicksand in which lie the notes. In the quicksand you have to move slowly or you will stumble and fall.” As the level begins, I hear the note in front of me, and the bubbling quicksand on both sides of my ears as well as the laugh of the grim reaper ahead of me. As I walk forward, it sounds like I’m stepping on gravels and stone, kind of a crunchy and slightly unstable ground. As I walk forward, I’m killed immediately by a grim reaper.  “You can outrun a giggling reaper. Lure it away from the note and then race back,”she notes. This level is very confusing to me as I’ve just been told to run, but then to move slowly once in the quick sand, having no clue where the quick sand is because I hear the bubbles all around me. I walk forward slowly towards the note, when I suddenly hear a stumbling noise and a deep. sucking sinking noise. I keep pressing the feet on the screen to move forward but I stumble and am unable to do anything. Recognizing that I’m in the quicksand I slowly press back and forth between the two feet toward the musical note and collect it, but I’m unsure where I am. I hear another note to my right so I rotate the screen. Unsure of whether I’m in the quicksand or on stable ground I move slowly, until I realize that I no longer hear the slow sucking sound effect and begin moving quickly towards the note. As soon as it is captured I hear the sound of the exit and run quickly towards it, as the grim reaper approaches from the left side. I’m not sure what to expect and as I’m wondering what’s next, a British man’s voice cuts in asking, “Hello? Hello?” Catherine Zeta-Jones chimes in over the man’s voice: “Excellent. The final challenge of the kingdom of reeds. And another lost soul in torment.” He again speaks up, saying, “I’m here by the rivers edge,” but she concludes the section by warning: “But don’t let your pity trip you up.”

I’m noticing that I’m no longer able to focus as much on making exact judgements about where the sounds are based on my hearing. I run towards the general direction of the note because of the constraints imposed by the and then run frantically to find the note. My listening practices were the most focused during the early stages of the game when I had the time to stand and differentiate between where I was and where I needed to be. Perhaps as I become more acclimated to maneuvering through these stressful environments, my listening practices will also improve.