Netflix’s Squid Game puts a dark and twisted take on a number of popular children’s games, both Korean and international, and each one has a deeper layer of meaning than the Squid Game's origins may indicate.
Squid Game season 1 finishes with the title Squid Game, which is detailed in the show’s opening scene, but there are many other innocent-turned-deadly games that fill the episodes in between.
If Squid Game season 2 ends up happening on Netflix, it should be interesting to see what new games are turned wicked by the nefarious group behind all the killing.
Squid Game's games are purposely violent and the show's tone is tense and uncomfortable by design. It’s a story that teases the life and death of its characters continually, with the viewer knowing that almost all of them will die by the time the story finishes.
A large part of the dread transmitted to the audience is the contradiction between how the games look and feel and what they actually are.
The bright red and green hues of Squid Game’s costumes, for instance, inspire ideas of euphoria and childhood, which are immediately crushed by the terrible reality of what the players must undertake.
The second huge component of that tonal dissonance is Squid Game's games themselves, which turn pure child’s play into deadly gladiator spectacle again and over again.
Round 1: Red Light, Green Light
Upon arrival on the island, Gi-hun and the other Squid Game players begin the games with possibly the cruelest of them all: Red Light, Green Light (literally, “red light, green light”). The inspiration for this Squid Activity came from a popular playground game.
Many people call it Statues, Grandmother's Footsteps, or Mugunghwa kkochi pieotseumnida in Korean. When Squid Game's “scary doll” sings “The Mugunghwa flower has bloomed,” the song's title approximately translates to “The flower has bloomed.”
Because it shows the competitors in a gruesome way that they will die if they step out of line even a tiny bit, Red Light, Green Light makes perfect sense as the first of Squid Game's games.
If you've ever wondered what it would be like if half of the Squid Game participants were slain in the first round, you'll be pleased to know that this is exactly what happens.
Round 2: Dalgona/Ppopgi
Playing Squid Round's ppopgi, a sugary, honeycomb toffee candy that was once famous in Korean street cuisine, the participants compete in the second game. The origins of the Squid Game can be traced back to a bargain involving ppopgi.
Free candy was traditionally given to anyone who managed to eat around the shape in the middle of a dalgona without shattering it. Despite this, the participants in Squid Game are rewarded with survival and punished with death if they successfully devour a squid.
After witnessing so many people die in Red Light, Green Light, the players of Squid Game were understandably terrified by the game's delicate nature and precariousness. Their lives hang in the balance, and even the tiniest misstep could result in their demise.
Round 3: Tug Of War
In round three of the Squid Game, the competition shifts to a team-based tug-of-war. Koreans have been playing tug-of-war-like games like this Squid Game for centuries, especially in agricultural areas, therefore the origins of this game are deeply rooted in Korean culture.
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In Korea, tug-of-war games between the east and west sides of villages are called juldarigi, and the winners are said to reap a better harvest that year. Squid Game winners, on the other hand, receive a different kind of good fortune.
The tug of war round in Squid Game marks the beginning of a new turn in the game's narrative, making the competition between the players rather than the organization. It sets the tone for coming episodes of the show's factionalism and backstabbing.
Round 4: Marbles
Round 4 involves marbles, which can be played in a variety of ways depending on the players. Teams of two compete against one another, such as Gi-hun and the elderly guy If you're not done with the other player's marbles in time, you're out of the game.
The contestant who does not have any marbles at the end of the game is eliminated. The origins of this Squid Game can be traced back thousands of years to the Roman Empire and other ancient civilizations.
Marbles can be played in a variety of ways, as demonstrated in episode 6 of the Squid Game. Slowing things down and giving the characters time to genuinely interact and develop in a high-pressure environment is what the Squid Game is all about in the program.
Additionally, it makes the remaining players responsible for deciding who dies in the Squid Game and who lives, requiring them to actively participate in the game's bloodshed and brutality.
Round 5: The Glass Tile Game
Round 5 of Squid Game season 1 is the sole game in which the competitors must navigate a perilous path of unstable glass platforms, some of which will bear their weight and others which will break under their weight.
This game has no real-world precedent. Even yet, the Squid Game is based on hopscotch and other similar jumping games, and its ancestors may be traced back to ancient India and Rome, dating back centuries.
The Squid Game Front Man rapidly shuts out the lights when he sees one participant can detect the difference between tempered and untempered glass in the program, to illustrate how severely the competition is rigged against the players.
Final Round: Squid Game
Final Squid Game, in which Gi-hun and Sang-woo compete for the ultimate prize, serves as the series' name. Similar to tag, but with more sophisticated rules, is the Squid Game's genesis. There are two groups in a game: the offense and the defense.
The offense's goal is to go to a specific spot at the end of the field, and the defense's goal is to prevent that. During the 1970s and 1980s, when many of the Squid Game's primary cast of characters were children, the game was extremely popular in Korea.
Hwang Dong-hyuk, the show's creator, has stated in interviews that he chose the Squid Game as the final challenge and as the show's title because of its inherent brutality, which was discussed in the show by Squid Game's Front Man.