Spoilers ahead. Read at your own discretion.
I’ve been seeing memes and videos of people talking about Squid Game everywhere. When I found out it was only nine episodes, I decided to give it a try. Personally, this is not the type of show I’d watch. I’m afraid of violence, loud noises, blood, death, suicide, and basically everything remotely scary. But I was curious, and I wanted to see who would win the money in the end, and how they would ultimately become the winner.
In Squid Game, a man approaches desperate people and asks them to play a game with him. If they win, they would receive $100,000 won (the Korean currency). If they lose, they would have to pay him $100,000 won or be slapped. Those who played the game eventually won some money, and they were given a card in which they could sign up to participate if they were interested.
However, the players really had no idea what they were getting themselves into. When they entered the vehicle, they were knocked out by gas chemicals. By the time they woke up, they were dressed in a numbered outfit and had all their belongings taken away. In addition, all the people working there were dressed in these hot pink suits with either a triangle, square, or circle mask over their faces. Some of them carried guns in their hands. There was one man in a black mask that appeared to have the most power. Anyhow, it wasn’t until during the first game that the players realize that losing would mean death. They were all freaked out and were given a chance to leave if the majority voted to do so.
Despite being “freed”, most of them decided to return to continue the games when given another chance. They knew they were gambling their lives, but they still chose to do it for the prize.
I thought the series did a very good job in the episode where a few of the gangsters butted in line to get seconds, while those who lined up and followed the rules didn’t get any. It was so cruel, but it also made sense. There are limited resources. The weaker players would either die because they fail in the games, or they would be killed by the other players. The game actually encourages people to get rid of each other, since each death would result in more money to the pot.
To stay alive, the players had to stick or work together. But eventually, they also had to turn on each other. Humans are ultimately selfish. Even though the main character was a super good guy, he still took advantage of the old man’s memory when he was about to lose. He knew only one of them would live, and he would rather sacrifice his partner, regardless of their close bond.
I thought Squid Game was very well done. There were so many subtle hints and meaning in every episode. I was so obsessed that I even watched a bunch of clips on youtube analyzing the scenes from the show (I wouldn’t recommend until you’ve finished the drama). Although the series was a bit too scary and dark for me, I felt like it was quite realistic. There were people from all walks of life, and they were all playing the game because they saw it as their way out. If they win, they would be able to turn their life around. This reminds me of the saying, “People either change due to inspiration or desperation.” Perhaps, the players felt like they had nothing to lose. They would rather gamble their lives and have a shot at winning than to face the grim reality.
Personally, I have never been in a situation where I was that desperate for money. I never had to worry about when my next meal will be. I thought about whether I would play Squid Game, but that would basically mean I have decided I wanted to end my life.
I’m the type that would do anything it takes to achieve my goals if I want it badly enough, but that’s only if my actions affect me alone. I cannot imagine killing or betraying someone else to achieve anything. The guilt would be too much for me. Even if I “win”, I would probably be mentally unstable afterwards and no longer able to live a proper life. The money is unable to replace my conscience.
I thought about whether my decision would change if the amount was higher. The answer is no. Regardless of how much I could win, I wouldn’t want to participate. The amount in the game was $45.6 billion won, which is around 47.5 million in Canadian dollars, or 38.1 million in American dollars. It is definitely a life changing amount, but why would I need so much money? What would I even do with it? I would already be living quite well with 2 million. It’s always good to have more, but when you have too much, I feel like it’s just a waste and it’s better to donate it to those in need. So regardless if it’s 47.5 million or 470.5 million or whatever amount, it wouldn’t make a difference to me. I would probably keep 5 million and end up donating the rest.
I then tried to imagine myself to be super desperate and in A LOT of debt and/or if I was like the MC, who needed to pay for his mother’s surgery. Would I join in that case? The answer is still no, because the chances of me making it out alive is so slim. It’s a different case if I am not risking my life or other people’s, but what is the likelihood that I would be the last one standing?
If I were super desperate for money, I would want to do something that wouldn’t require me to die for it. If I had to die for it, then I would need a guarantee that the person/people that I want to benefit would actually get the money.
If I needed to pay for an emergency treatment/surgery and it’s time sensitive, I would beg the bank to lend me money and/or start a Gofundme page or something.
If it’s not life threatening, then I don’t think I would borrow money. Instead, I’d hustle like crazy and try to maximize my social media presence, along with working a stable job. I would use tiktok, IG, twitter, fb, and probably learn how to stream videos on twitch + youtube. Basically, I would sell my skills instead of my life. (If you’re interested in the financial aspect, check out my previous blog post)
Anyhow, I feel like there are so many lessons in the drama, and it is very powerful.
For instance, money can buy a lot of things, and solve a lot of problems. It can also make your life a lot easier, but it cannot bring back your loved ones once they’re gone. If you spend all your time chasing money, one day you may realize that it’s too late. Is there any meaning if you don’t have anyone to spend it with?
Also, when your life is on the line, you’d disregard your morals. It’s either you or me. I think it’s reasonable to expect that a person would choose their own life over someone else’s. Some would even harm others in order to survive.
My question is, would you play Squid Game? What would be your price?