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Test your spatial hearing in this new Space Invaders-like game

SoundGym has launched a surprisingly fun game to test your ability to pinpoint where sound is in the stereo field. The website, which is sort of a Lumosity for musicians, features daily exercises and games that are designed to improve specific types of listening.

The new game, which SoundGym has called “The Panning Challenge,” is a bit like Space Invaders, but with invisible aliens. The object of the game is to locate 25 aliens in the stereo field by listening to the sounds they make, then shoot them before they reach you. If you’re correct about where the sound is coming from, the alien is revealed. If not, you lose a life.

It’s a really addictive little game, even for people who aren’t pro musicians and engineers (several people at The Verge passed it around and said it was super fun to play). Part of what makes it so engaging is the rapid pace — there’s only a couple of seconds to think about where to shoot before the alien reveals itself. Also, the acceptable shoot range is pretty narrow — this game really wants you to be accurate. Several times I got very close to the target of 25 aliens and then failed by just missing where a sneaky bit of audio was coming from. The fifth time I played, I still felt the fast intensity but polished off 25 aliens no problem. BYE.

Although you have to sign up for SoundGym to play (it’s free) this game comes with a bonus — beat it and you’re entered to win a pair of ADAM A5X studio monitors. The contest is only open until September 28th, but hopefully they keep the game around afterward. I like zapping these little creatures.

SoundGym offers a bunch of other audio ear training games, like “Dr. Compressor,” which challenges you to listen for which sound is more compressed, and “EQ Cheetah,” where you find as many boosted frequencies as possible within 60 seconds. Access to the full platform costs $ 14.95 a month, but you can play “The Panning Challenge” and daily workouts for free.

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