Squid Game: The Deadly Survival Game That Took the World by Storm
Squid Game is a South Korean thriller series that premiered on Netflix in September 2021. The show follows hundreds of cash-strapped players who accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games for a chance to win a whopping 45.6 billion won (about 38 million US dollars). However, they soon discover that the games have deadly consequences for those who lose.
The series was created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, who also wrote and directed all nine episodes. The cast includes Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun, a divorced and indebted father; Park Hae-soo as Cho Sang-woo, a childhood friend of Gi-hun and a former stockbroker; Wi Ha-jun as Hwang Jun-ho, a police officer who infiltrates the game; and Jung Ho-yeon as Kang Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector and one of the few female players.
Squid Game became an instant hit among viewers and critics alike, receiving praise for its gripping storyline, social commentary, cinematography, and performances. It also became the most-watched series on Netflix in over 90 countries, breaking several records and generating a huge cultural impact. The show has been nominated for multiple awards, including six Primetime Emmy Awards, and has been renewed for a second season.
But what do these games mean? Why are they chosen by the mysterious organization that runs the show? And what do they reveal about the themes and messages of Squid Game?
According to the creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, the games are based on his own childhood memories of playing with his friends in Korea. He wanted to contrast the innocence and nostalgia of these games with the brutality and horror of the adult world. He also wanted to explore how people react differently to extreme situations, and how their morals and values are challenged by greed and survival.
The games also have deeper symbolic meanings that relate to the social commentary of Squid Game. The show depicts a society where the rich exploit the poor, where life is cheap and disposable, and where people are reduced to numbers and colors. The games reflect these aspects of society in various ways, such as:
Red Light, Green Light: This game tests the players’ obedience and reflexes. It also introduces the shocking reality of the game, where any mistake can cost one’s life. The game is controlled by a giant doll that scans the players’ movements with its eyes, symbolizing the surveillance and manipulation of the elite.
Dalgona: This game tests the players’ luck and skill. It also reveals the unfairness and deception of the game, where some players have an advantage over others based on their choice of shape. The game is based on a popular Korean candy that is made by melting sugar and baking soda, symbolizing the sweetness and bitterness of life.
Tug of War: This game tests the players’ strength and teamwork. It also exposes the cruelty and violence of the game, where one team has to eliminate another team by pulling them off a platform. The game is based on a traditional Korean game that is often played during festivals or celebrations, symbolizing the contrast between joy and despair.
Marbles: This game tests the players’ intelligence and trust. It also challenges the players’ relationships and emotions, where they have to betray or sacrifice their partners by taking their marbles. The game is based on a common childhood game that is played with glass balls, symbolizing the fragility and preciousness of life.
Glass Bridge: This game tests the players’ courage and memory. It also demonstrates the randomness and futility of the game, where some players have to rely on guesswork or sacrifice themselves to cross a bridge made of tempered or normal glass. The game is based on a Korean folk tale that tells of a bridge that connects heaven and hell, symbolizing the thin line between life and death.
Squid Game: This game tests the players’ will and morality. It also represents the ultimate goal and climax of the game, where only one player can survive by defeating their opponent in a one-on-one combat. The game is based on a complex Korean game that involves a squid-shaped board drawn on the ground and two teams of offense and defense, symbolizing the struggle between good and evil.
By playing these games, the players are forced to confront their own humanity, as well as the inhumanity of others. They also learn about themselves, their society, and their choices. Squid Game is not only a thrilling and entertaining show, but also a profound and provocative one that raises important questions about our modern world.