Why we love “Squid Game”

“The rules of the game are simple.” 

In the Red Light, Green Light game, participants learned the true stakes of the game.

Carol Xu

In the Red Light, Green Light game, participants learned the true stakes of the game.

Katy Clark, Senior Staff Writer

Released on September 17th, Squid Game, a South Korean thriller, follows debt-strapped individuals as they compete in children’s games for money. Failure equals death and winning is the only way to stay alive.

“The show really showed that humans would do anything for money, and the things people do when they think they have nothing to lose are truly terrifying. It also showed that even in the worst circumstances, some people are still capable of being compassionate, which gave me hope in our society,” said Joe Dai (‘23).

Squid Game soared in popularity, becoming the first K-drama ever to hit #1 on U.S. Netflix rankings. Soundtracks from the show are found all over Tik Tok and posts about the food and cast flood social media.

”I started watching it because I really like K-dramas and I heard a lot about it from other people and they encouraged me to watch it,” said Lois Hong (‘22).


Throughout the show, the main character Gi-hun, also known as player 456, and the other participants are forced to play games from their youth. Games like Red Light, Green Light, and Tug of War, and traditional South Korean games like Dalgona and Squid Game, are featured in the show. 

“My favorite game was definitely the marble game. I feel like it flushed out a lot of the characters and the emotional aspect of it made it most impactful to me,” said Ella Jeon (‘25).

From the first game, Red Light Green Light, directors establish a tone of violence and gore. In contrast to the innocent children’s games are brutal murders of the participants who break the rules. The doll in charge of catching cheaters establishes a chilling atmosphere where childhood nostalgia is twisted into a horrific nightmare. The blood pooling on the arena floor emphasizes the stakes of the game, and the fact that only the strong will survive. 

“It was pretty bloody, but I expected something like that to happen given what I had heard of the series,” said Jeon.

In addition to gore, the scenes also invoke anxious feelings in the audience. They watch the participants complete the challenges at deadly heights, with pink guards ready to strike, and allies only a second away from betrayal.

“The tug of war scene when [Gi-Hun’s team] almost lost, that one gave me a lot of anxiety because it was very scary to see them take three steps forward,” said Hong.


Along with the suspense and drama, the show also introduces a dynamic cast of characters. 

“The character I related to the most was player 456[Gi-Hun]. He started off as an ungrateful man who wasted all his money drinking and gambling and relied on his old mother for financial support. However, despite being the lowest in society, he maintained his humanity throughout the Squid Games, and never tried to survive by harming others,” said Dai.

Gi-hun brings light humor to the screen while showcasing his fear in raw emotional moments. He is accompanied by an old man named Oh II-Nam who offers him wisdom and sage advice. In addition, we see Sang-Woo, Gi-Hun’s old friend, Ali, a sweet naive character, and Kang Sae-byeok, a shy defector from North Korea who is trying to get her family back.

“My favorite character is Sae-byeok because she is just so brave and just a very caring person,” said Hong.

These characters might be back for a second season. Even though Netflix has yet to renew the show, the popularity and buzz around its narrative promises a bright future to come.