Imagine yourself in a position where you are in debt, but you have no money whatsoever. There’s no way you could borrow money from your friends or your relatives because it will only add more debt. One day, you’re offered to participate in a game, where if you win it, you’ll get so much money that you could never ask for it. Would you say yes?
Squid Game is an analogy to the harshness of life, the intense competition in this world, and the cruelty of capitalism. Released on September 17th with 9 episodes, the masterpiece of the famous director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, soars to the number one spot in Netflix worldwide.
The first episode opens with the character of Seung Gi-hoon, a man who is in debt. After his wife’s divorce and losing his daughter’s custody, he lives in a rented house with his mother. Shortly after that, he meets a man who gives an “entry ticket” to a game. 45.6 billion won is up for grabs, and all he has to do is win the game. Gi-hoon feels intrigued and decides to follow the man’s words.
Long story short, Gi-hoon is picked up by a mysterious van. In the van, he was sedated to maintain the secrecy of the game venue location. Later, when he opens his eyes, he realizes that he is locked into a secret location and is not alone. There are 455 other players gathered for the same goal: money.
The game venue is run by a mysterious black masked person named “Front Man”, assisted by his henchmen in red outfits. There, they were given instructions that they would play 6 games with only 3 rules apply:
1. They must not stop in the middle of the game;
2. Those who refuse to play will be eliminated immediately; and
3. The game will be stopped if the majority of them agree to it.
Now, what’s interesting here is that the series of games presented are not complicated games that rack your brains. Instead, it’s just a bunch of childhood games.
The first game starts with something known as “Red Light, Green Light”. There is a giant animatronic robot at the end of the room that acts as a guard in this game. When the robot says Green Light, players are allowed to move as fast as possible so they can get to the finish line before time runs out. However, when the robot says Red Light, they are not allowed to move at all. So if they were caught moving by the robot, they would be eliminated immediately. Sounds very simple, doesn’t it? However, it turns out that this is not your classic “Red Light, Green Light” competition. This time, the meaning of “eliminated” is not merely just being expelled from the game. Instead, those who are caught moving on red will be shot with a sniper rifle.
Out of fear from the first game, the remaining players agreed to end it and did not wish to proceed to the second game. They then decided to return to their respective lives. However, they realized that reality is no better than life inside the game venue. Eventually, they were given a second chance to re-participate and decided to return back to the game venue and play the rest of the game. They are willing to risk their lives and others for financial security, even knowing the consequences.
As the games proceed and the players dwindle down, survival mode kicks in. Cliques start to form. Backstabbing becomes inevitable, and in the end, stands a winner.
Although this series is filled with lots of gory scenes, it also leaves you with moral values. The bright colors of the playing equipment shown throughout this series offer a distinct contradiction with the intense competition in modern life.
Written by: Nat Padma
Pictures cred: Netflix