- Oct 27, 2021
- Reaction score
- PG Coin
Netflix’s hit survival drama Squid Game puts a twisted spin on childhood games like Red Light, Green Light, hopscotch, tug of war, and marbles. When 456 cash-strapped contestants are invited to play in a mysterious tournament for the chance at 45.6 billion won (or about $40 million U.S.), they soon discover that the games come with dangerous stakes: win the game or die.
The competition itself is obviously not real, but the games that comprise each round are, including the one the Korean series takes its title from. Squid Game, which Netflix describes as a type of tag where offense and defense use a squid-shaped board drawn in the dirt, was wildly popular in Korea in the 1970s and ‘80s, around the time writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk was growing up in Seoul. “It was one of the most physical and it was also one of my favorite games,” Dong-hyuk recently told the RadioTimes. “I felt that this game could be the most symbolic children’s game that could represent the kind of society we live in today.”
Squid Game is played on a field that has an outline with two circles, one at the top and one at the bottom. A triangle intersects the circle at one end, and a square intersects the other. Protagonist Seong Gi-Hun explains the rules the start of the show. “Children are divided into two groups: the offense and the defense. Once the game starts, the defense can run around on two feet within bounds, while the offense outside the line is only allowed to hop on one foot. But if an attacker cuts through the waist of the squid outpacing the defense, he or she is given the freedom to walk freely on two feet,” he says. “After preparing for the final battle, the attackers gather at the entrance of the squid. In order to win, the attackers must tap the small closed-off space on the squid's head with their foot. If the defender pushes you out of the squid's line, you die.” (Of course, that death was only metaphorical when he was playing as a kid).