Los 40 USA
Sign in to commentAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA


Is Squid Game a real game in Korea? How is the game played?

The Squid Game was actually a real game played by kids and popular in Korea in the 70s and 80s. Here is a guide on how to play the kids' game.

This handout image Courtesy of Netflix shows a scene of South Korea's "Squid Game" Season one.

Netflix’s show Squid Game has been a sensation around the world. The Korean series is about a group of people who are suffering financial problems and decide to accept an invitation to compete in several games in exchange for prize money, however, the result of these games can be lethal.

The show’s first episode starts with the main character’s voice explaining how to play Squid Game, the kid’s game after which the series is named. But does this game really exist in Korea?

Reality or fiction?

Obviously, the deadly competition taking place is fictional, but the games that compose the actual completion are not. Throughout the episodes several games are portrayed which not only are known in Korea, but some of them are also well-known by kids all around the world, such as Red light, Green light, Marbles, Dalgona candy, Tug of war, and Squid Game, among others.

In this picture taken in Seoul on October 10, 2021, street vendor Lim Chang-joo stamps a star shape onto a dalgona,
Full screen
In this picture taken in Seoul on October 10, 2021, street vendor Lim Chang-joo stamps a star shape onto a dalgona,YELIM LEEAFP

Why “Squid Game”?

Squid Game was a really popular kids' game in Korea in the 70s and 80s, around the time when the show’s director was growing up in Seoul. In the game, kids were divided into defense and offense and played inside a Squid-shaped board drawn on the ground.

According to Squid Game director Hwang Dong-Hyuk, he chose to name the show after Squid Game as it was the most physical kids' game of the times and for him, it was "the most symbolic children's game to represent the kind of society we live in today.”

How to play?

Squid Game is played on a squid-shape drawn in the ground, with two circles, one at the top and one at the bottom. The top circle is intersected by a huge triangle, while the bottom one is intersected by a square of the same size approximately.

Squid Game Rules:

  1. Children divide themselves into two groups: defense and offense.
  2. Once the game starts the defense group is allowed to run everywhere with two feet inside the limits of the drawn shapes, while the offense, who remains outside the boundaries, can only hop around with one foot.
  3. If a member of the offense cuts through the middle of both triangle and square outpacing the defense, the person can automatically start using both feet freely.
  4. After preparing for the final battle, the attackers gather at the entrance of the squid.
  5. For one of the teams to achieve a win, the offense must touch with one foot the small triangle intersection that forms on the head of the squid (intersection of top circle and triangle), whereas the defense must try to push the offense outside of the boundaries. If either of both achieve their mission, the opponent team is dead — in this case metaphorically!!