Updated: Mar 15
By Leo Gray
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I won the bid to write about Squid Games, and now it’s super late, so I’m sure not many people on the staff are happy with me, but here I am, and here is my review of Squid Games.
I’m going to start out by saying it was terrific. It was fantastic, and with a budget of only 21.4 USD, it is really impressive to see what they did with it.
But, and it’s a big but, they played the game wrong. The entire time and I’m also guilty of this, we were made to believe that only one person would win, and he did. But he didn’t need to be that way, and all of us fell for it.
The entire game is played as a zero-sum game, but it didn’t have to be.
FilmTheory, on youtube, also talked about this also and I’ve spoken to a few people about theories of the games and show. It is always fun to talk to people about shows and see what they think about them. People tend to think I’m crazy when I say more than one person could have won, and then I show them FilmTheory’s breakdown, and they understand it. I think it is because he is better at explaining it than I am but I will try my best.
When I first watched Squid Game, I thought it to be similar to Battle Royale or The Hunger Games, where only one person would win because it is set up to be like that. We usually follow the main protagonist, and they are supposed to come out on top as the victor.
But when you look closely at the contract and the games the players agree to, it is clear that it doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, but rather a game where multiple people could have won if played strategically.
The first game, Red-Light-Green-Light, is where we see most of the deaths occur, but it is a game that is possible for everyone to survive. If the players listened to the rules and did rush the doors to escape, the bloodbath that occurred wouldn’t have happened, and many more would have made it to the second round. It was a game where everyone, if played correctly, could have survived.
The same is with the HoneyComb game. All the players had to do was carve the shape out, and yes, some shapes were more challenging than others, but nothing says that with a skilled group, everyone could have survived that round.
This causes the first games to allow every player to survive and move on with the rounds.
It is not until the third game, Tug-of-War, do we come to a game where someone has to die. In this round, 50% of the players will die, and there is no avoiding that, but it is essential to remember that if the first games were played correctly, the pool of people making it to this game would be a lot higher than it was in the canon show.
The same goes for Marbles, the fourth game, where only 50% of the players survive. These games raise the stakes because every player has a 50/50 shot of making it out solely based on who they partner up with rather than in the first two games when it was up to their decisions, and their chances of survival were higher.
After following those two games where the players faced a 50/50 chance of dying, we return to a game where hypothetically speaking, and all the players can survive. It is a very slim chance, but if the first person picks the correct glass everytime, than everyone lives. The players did not need to resort to killing one another as they did during this round.
It is not until we get to the final round, The Squid Game, do we face another game where only 50% of the players are going to survive.
We only see Gi Hun and Sang Woo play the game so we are conditioned to believe only one person is supposed to come out as the victor. But what if four people who made it to the final game? Two people would be the victors.
You might think I’m crazy but think back to the contracts the player’s sign, and the rule is that they must win six games.
Nothing says they have to beat all the other players. They just have to win six games.
Gi Hun is the only person to have won the six games, but what if other players stood victor with him? The money would be distributed between all of them, and then they would go on with their lives.
It teaches an important lesson when you think about it. Life is not a zero-sum game and when you teach it like that, you are going to do more harm, not only to yourself but to the people around you.