Squid Game: Win Millions or Die Trying

The hit Korean TV Show depicts a series of games that offer players a chance to earn a fortune or lose their lives.

Mariana Arboleda, Features Editor

Warning: The following might include spoilers from the show. Read with caution. 

The new television sensation, Squid Game, has recently taken over the world, topping as the number one drama in Netflix just a couple of days after its debut on September 7.  

Squid Game is a survival K-drama where hundreds of participants are offered to play children’s games in exchange for the chance to win millions of dollars if they win all six games. However, participants get immediately eliminated if they lose one of the games, turning it into a blood bath between who wins and who brutally dies.   

The participants must play six games in total: a game of marbles, red or green light, tug of war, dalgona candy, the glass bridge, and lastly, squid game. Each episode captivates the viewer by introducing new conflicts, along with each of the characters’ unique personalities and problems.  

Why is it that this particular K-drama succeeded from the hundreds of other K-dramas available on the Netflix platform?

“I feel that the acting and the plot is just really different and new. I think that’s why everyone likes it,” said Gabriela Arboleda, a sophomore.    

At the start of the show, the main protagonist, Seong Gi-Hun, is struggling financially.  After a horseracing fiasco where he wins some money and accidentally loses it, we find out he owes thousands upon thousands of dollars to money lenders, and is at risk of losing his life if he somehow repay his debts. Out of the blue, he is offered an invitation to play children’s games in exchange for the money he needs.

“It displays how desperate people are for money, and how they would do anything to get out of debts.” said Dua Hanif, a junior.

Even when the participants realize they are risking a brutal death if they lose the game, the show repeatedly portrays the theme that morals or ethics immediately are abandoned when it comes to surviving, whether that is in the real-life world or the deadly games.  

When the players first realized that they could lose their lives while playing red light, green light, they chose to end the game and simply go home with no money at all. But as soon as they faced their realities, they realized that their lives were gradually becoming worse and worse. Consequently, they came back and decided to finish all five games.

Many of them ended up dead, while others betrayed their partners in order to survive.  According to Dua Hanif, it becomes clear that some fates are worse than death. No one wants to live a miserable existence of suffering.

“In the show, money is even more important than someone else’s life,” Hanif said. 

Nonetheless, it is important to consider the fact that if it weren’t for the harsh conditions the characters were living in, none of them would be in the fatal games in the first place.

“I feel like it strays from the way typical American series’ are,” says Mauricio Diaz, a senior. “Squid Game addresses many societal problems that are not often spoken about.”   

What the show really is portraying are signs of capitalism and how it has ruined the lives of many of the characters. We are left to wonder: How far would I be willing to go to win the game?