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Landon Stewart
Landon Stewart

Squid Game: The Meaning and Symbolism of the Games

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.

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However, Gi-hun and his fellow tournament contestants soon learn that losing the game results in losing your life and those that survive continue through the various Squid Game rounds in an attempt to leave with a life-changing amount of money and avoid the incineration room.

Who is Seong Gi-hun? Seong Gi-hun is a divorced gambling addict whose financial woes are getting in the way of gaining custody of his daughter. He lives with his mother in a modest abode and soon finds out she has diabetes and needs surgery. When he hears about the secret game and its substantial cash prize, he decides to take part so he can settle his debts and pay for his mother's medical bills.

Who is Cho Sang-woo? Cho Sang-woo grew up poor alongside Seong Gi-hun. A gifted student, Cho Sang-woo eventually graduates from Seoul National University and becomes the head of an investment team. Unfortunately, he gets caught stealing money from his clients and is wanted from the police, so he decides to enter the game with Seong Gi-hun.

Who is Kang Sae-byeok? A North Korean defector, the resourceful Kang Sae-byeok joins the game in a bid to secure the money she needs to get the rest of her family out of North Korea and help her little brother, who is in an orphanage in Seoul. She is good with knife and a skilled pickpocket, both of which come in handy in the arena.

Who is Jang Deok-su? Seoul gangster Jang Deok-su has amassed quite the gambling debt and is on the run from his crime lord boss when he joins the game. He is not to be messed with, in case you didn't guess that from the picture above.

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Who is Hwang Jun-ho? Hwang Jun-ho is a Seoul police officer whose missing brother is connected to the game. After an encounter with Gi-hun, Jun-ho goes undercover as a guard in the game.

Who is The Front Man? The Front Man is in charge of running the whole game. Like all those who work on the game, he wears a mask to maintain strict anonymity, with viewers not finding out who is beneath until episode eight.

The South Korean mega-hit is still the most watched Netflix series of all-time and the impact it had on society still resonates with people around the globe. Written by Hwang Dong-hyuk, it's very possible that 'Squid Game' does something similar to what Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' did at the Oscars back in 2019. Take a look at the full list of nominations down below.

While you can check the full list of winners at the Emmy Awards website, we've gathered all the biggest winners below, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on the winners and who you think deserved the win!

For more content like this, go ahead and browse our Gym Tycoon codes, Anime Tappers codes, and Shonen Smash codes. Then, when you need to take a break from the Squid Game, you check should out our list full of the best mobile RPGs you can play on iOS and Android.

You will be in a spacious arena. A vast creepy doll and a squad of armed soldiers will be at the end. As soon as the red zone appears, you need to freeze at the exact second in revenge and not move in any way. In the next game, you have to use the mouse to cut out the designated figure of caramel in a limited amount of time. The third competition will be a tug-of-war, where you must press the right buttons to throw the opposing team off the platform. In the fourth challenge, you must rely on intuition to guess the number of balls in your opponent's palm. To win the final round, you must get to the other side of the bridge, consisting of tempered and regular glass tiles. Good luck!

Squid Game consists of one season with nine episodes at a run time of 32 to 63 minutes. All nine episodes were written and directed by Hwang. The full series was released in all Netflix worldwide markets on September 17, 2021.[27][28]

Around 2008, Hwang Dong-hyuk had tried unsuccessfully to get investment for a different movie script that he had written, and he, his mother, and his grandmother had to take out loans to stay afloat, but still struggled amid the debt crisis within the country.[30][31][f] He spent his free time in a Manhwabang (South Korean manga cafe) reading Japanese survival manga such as Battle Royale, Liar Game and Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji.[33][34][35][36] Hwang compared the characters' situation in these works to his own current situation and considered the idea of being able to join such a survival game to win money to get him out of debt, leading him to write a film script on that concept throughout 2009.[36] Hwang stated, "I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted it to use the kind of characters we've all met in real life."[37] Hwang feared the storyline was "too difficult to understand and bizarre" at the time.[33] Hwang tried to sell his story to various Korean production groups and actors, but had been told it was too grotesque and unrealistic.[38] Hwang put this script aside without any takers, and over the next ten years successfully completed three other films, including the crime drama film Silenced (2011) and the historical drama film The Fortress (2017).[36]

With the Netflix order, the film concept was expanded out to a nine-episode series. Kim stated that there was "so much more than what was written in the 120-minute format. So we worked together to turn it into a series."[41] Hwang said he was able to expand the script so that it "could focus on the relationships between people [and] the stories that each of the people had".[43] Initially, Netflix had named the series Round Six, rather than Squid Game as Hwang had suggested; according to Netflix's vice president for content in Asia Kim Minyoung, while they knew that the name "squid game" would be familiar to Korean viewers from the children's game, it "wouldn't resonate because not many people would get it", and opted to use Round Six as it self-described the nature of the competition. As production continued, Hwang pushed on the service to use Squid Game instead; its cryptic name and unique visuals helped to draw in curious viewers, according to Kim.[42][44] At the time that Hwang wrote the series, his goal was for having the series reach the most-watched show in Netflix in the United States for at least one day.[30] Hwang had initially written the series as eight episodes, which was comparable to other Netflix shows, but found that the material for the last episode was longer than he planned, so it was split into two.[45]

Hwang wrote all of the series himself, taking nearly six months to write the first two episodes alone, after which he turned to friends to get input on moving forward.[37] Hwang also addressed the challenges of preparing for the show which was physically and mentally exhausting, saying that he had forgone dental health while making Season 1 and had to have six teeth pulled by his dentist after production was complete.[33][45] As such, Hwang was initially unsure about a sequel after completing these episodes,[37] though he wrote the ending to keep a potential hook for a sequel in mind.[30] Hwang had considered an alternate ending where Gi-hun would have boarded the plane after concluding his call with the game organizers to see his daughter, but Hwang said of that ending, "Is that the right way for us to really propose the question or the message that we wanted to convey through the series?"[52]

As Netflix was targeting the work for a global audience, the visuals were emphasized and some of the rules of the children's games were simplified to avoid potential issues with the language barrier.[38] The colorful sets and costumes were designed to look like a fantasy world. The players and soldiers each wear a distinctive color, to reduce the sense of individuality and emphasize the difference between the two groups.[34] The green tracksuits worn by the players were inspired by 1970s athletic wear, known as trainingbok (Korean: 트레이닝복).[62] The maze-like corridors and stairs drew inspiration from the 4-dimensional stair drawings of M. C. Escher including Relativity. Production designer Chae Kyoung-sun said these seemingly infinite stairways represented "a form of bondage for the contestants".[63] The complex network of tunnels between the arena, the dorm, and the administrative office was inspired by ant colonies.[34]

The players' dormitory was envisioned with the concept of "people who are abandoned on the road" according to Chae; this was also used in the tug-of-war game.[65] The room was designed using white tiles and the curved opening like a vehicular tunnel. The bed and stairs initially were laid out to look like warehouse shelves, but as the episodes progressed and these furnishing used as makeshift defenses, they took the appearance of broken ladders and stairs, implying the way these players were trapped with no way out, according to Chae.[65] The dinner scene that took place in the eighth episode was inspired by the art installation The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago.[63] Walls of many of the areas where the games took place were painted in skies inspired by The Empire of Light series by René Magritte.[63]

The crew spent the most time crafting the set for the Marbles game, creating a mix of realism and fakeness as to mirror the life and death nature of the games themselves.[66] Chae stated that this set was designed as a combination of small theatrical stages, each stage representing parts of Player 001's memories.[65] The VIP room was one of the last pieces to be designed, and Chae said that they decided on an animal-based theme for both the costumes and room for this; "The VIPs are the kind of people who take other people's lives for entertainment and treat them like game pieces on a chessboard, so I wanted to create a powerful and instinctive look for the room."[65]


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