Squid Game’s Impact

Nadia Hossain

Global Phenomenon of Realistic Fiction

Watchers all around the world are fascinated by the Korean drama Squid Game, which premiered on September 17th of this year. The show features 456 characters who are desperately seeking money and are brought together to play six random games from their childhood. The games, though, have a deadly twist. All nine episodes of the show were released together and the show ratings rose to the top of Netflix. This first season, currently still a top show, set a record as it ranked the most-watched show on Netflix. Gaining more than one billion hours worth of views, the show ranked top not only in Korea or America, but in countries across the globe. A show must entice viewers with various concepts in order to draw a large audience, and in this case, the concept is a thriller filled with fictional horror that can connect to the actual world in some elements relating to individuals or society. Like most dramas, the emotional characteristics etched in the show’s personality really draws people to this work. Viewers can feel  sympathy, hatred, and compassion for the entangled people facing the challenges of both life and the games they play. With this, Squid Game became part of the content found on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and memes.


Creation and the Aspects of Show

The creator, Hwang Dong-Hyuk, originally started working on the writing of the program back in 2008. Ever since the first drafts and story was completed, it took him years to bring the production of the show into action. The amount of time dedicated to this piece of work is really admirable, as in the beginning, he had struggled to develop the money and casting because the audience found it “unfamiliar and violent” to watch.

(Minor limited roles and games spoiler)

The actors who created the drama roles of this production really had to captivate attention through the persona that they created, and some of the main leads are both experienced and new coming actors who told their own story. One of the main leads, Seong Gi Hun, played by Lee Jung Jae, was a gambling divorcee who makes up his mind to join after learning that his daughter would be taken to the US. Lee started as a fashion model and went on to star in many movies and tv shows throughout his rising career to become well known. Another well-liked character was Kang Sae Byeok, played by Jung Ho Yeon, and she was a wary North defector who escaped to find a new home; she needed to join the game in order to get money to bring her mother with her. Jung’s acting impressed many to believe she was an experienced actor, when in actuality, she was a longtime model who just got her first lead role. These two actors, including other known leads and even foreign actors, received high praise due to their roles filled with emotions and interactions, gaining millions of followers and recognition on Instagram.


 The original games recreated in the drama include: Red Light, Green Light, Glass Bridge, Marbles, Honeycomb, Tug-of-War, and last but not least, Squid Game. People might find some games familiar, while other games are unknown.  In, Red Light Green Light,  players have to get across a long distance while the other person yells Green Light. However, they have the risk of losing if they move while Red Light is yelled. Honeycomb might taste good, but playing a game with it means to take out the shape imprinted with either hands or a pin. An unfamiliar game is the Squid Game (played on a drawn squid created from circles, squares, and triangles), where the attackers’ objective is to walk through the center on one foot to reach the “home” square marked on the opposite side; the defender’s purpose is to block them. However, if an attacker goes across the squid’s waist, they can now use both feet, becoming ‘inspector royale’, and can claim “Victory” at the end of the game.


Every man or woman in this world has to look out for themselves, along with the ones they put trust in while playing the games. Speaking of emotions, people can relate to many characters who are unfortunate and simply seem to have bad luck; however, there is also a possibility of disliking others due to their values and actions, much like how we interact with people in reality. While watching, it’s important to try to understand the characters’ nature, as it is a story about people. The characters are placed in tough spots on occasion, and the decisions they have can affect the outcome in numerous ways. Perhaps some are too apprehensive or too energetic with regards to what they can do to make due, and that can have results. Through this show we can check whether individuals put themselves or others first, and how feelings, or even will to live, can change an individual’s perspective to something that would contrast from what they would regularly believe.


Possibility of Continuation

Unlike usual shows, this drama only had nine episodes, so people might feel as if it was short, but impactful and full of action at the same time. After the ending that was given, people are left with many different questions, asking what will happen next and how some characters actually came to be involved. By now, most people will know that deaths are involved in this new show, and that is another topic regarding the schemes entangled inside — and outside — the setting of the drama world. With the progressing time, more inquisitions become and numerous hypotheses are being made with regards to who plays which role. Fans will be happy to know that Squid Game creators are coming back with another whole season! The demand for a second season has been granted, and enthusiasts even created their own trailers and editions to convey support. Not much information about such things like release dates, plot, or setting has been disclosed by director Hwang Dong-Hyukother other than it is most likely still in the developing stage of production.


Rising Korean Culture

Furthermore, the popularity of South Korean culture has risen quickly in recent years. This drama series, among others, creates another admired part of their talents and creations, from technologies such as vehicles and phones to the widely popular K-pop music industry. The various games presented in the series, along with the food encouraged fans, and others to try it for themselves. The outfits of the various characters also became a topic, as many around the world dressed up as them for the past celebration of Halloween festivities. As shown in the poster, the green tracksuits, along with the red soldier uniforms, became one of the most popular Halloween costumes, with people rushing to buy them. The content, outfits, games, and other nodes are catching people’s interest because viewers are encouraged to recreate the characters’ experiences.