Reaching Fame with "Squid Game"

By Angelina Ng


In a span of just 10 days after its release, the Netflix drama series, “Squid Game" has swept the charts, reaching #1 in over 90 countries, including the United States, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The series launched on September 17, 2021. Just after the first episode, viewers were already engrossed in the mysterious storyline. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk created an extremely successful Netflix K-drama that sparked intriguing theories and opinions.


Artwork by Ashwathi Chemban

"Squid Game" grabs students attention with its rioting plot line.


“I started watching it with three of my friends and we were hooked right when we started watching. The show really knows how to make you want to watch another episode even if it’s 1am on a school night,” said senior Jess Jaimon.


Famous Korean actor, Lee Jung-jae, plays a character named Seong Gi-hun. He is a divorced father and chauffeur in debt with a heavy gambling addiction, living with his mother in a small home. With his ex-wife and daughter moving to the U.S. and his mother needing surgery for diabetes, Gi-hun needs to find a way to make money. Desperate and looking for any opportunities, he meets an unfamiliar man in a suit at a subway station. He asks Gi-Hun if he would like to play a game. For every round that Gi-hun wins, the man will pay him 100,000 won ($84.83 USD). However, if he loses, the man slaps Gi-hun in return. After many failed rounds, Gi-hun finally succeeds. He is given the money along with a peculiar card with three shapes and a phone number. Upon calling the number, he is given an opportunity to play a game for a large cash prize. Heavily burdened by his financial situation, Gi-Hun agrees. This leads to him waking up in an undisclosed location along with several other contestants in teal tracksuits labeled by a number. He and 455 other people compete to win a grand prize of 45,600,000 won ($38,460,271.29 USD).


The series contains six contests based on frequently played Korean children’s games. However, players were not aware that they would be penalized with termination if they lost until the end of the first game. The games become more competitive and challenging. This leads to conflict between characters and ultimately betrayals. The characters have a wide range of personalities, emotions and relationships that develop in the storyline as the series progresses.


“In the beginning, Gi-hun was more naive and nice and so the plot was a little softer. Towards the end, due to Gi-hun making more headstrong decisions for himself, the plot develops into more of a mysterious action,” said senior Miriya Lok.


“The story brought such a close relationship to each character as I learned more about them. I would really like to see a Season Two” said sophomore Kyle Lok.


The drama series was not accepted for years, according to the director Dong-hyuk, who developed the script in 2008. The show was rejected plenty of times by many studios, which led to Dong-hyuk struggling to secure his funding. He created these plots from getting inspired by reading comic books revolving around surviving death games and stories about indebted people entering into life-and-death games. Dong-hyuk thought to himself how he would love to participate in games like those to make a bunch of cash and get out of a financial crisis. The names of the characters are based on the director’s childhood friends, who used to play with him in the alleyways.


Due to the immense popularity that the show generated, many question the return of Squid Game Season Two, and the unexpected twists from Hwang Dong-hyuk.