If you had a Netflix account in 2021, then it's highly likely that you were into Squid Game when it first came out. The fictional K-drama centers around a highly elaborate series of competitions in which 456 players play through a gauntlet of classic South Korean children's games for an enormous cash prize. The only catch? If you lose at any point, you die
The series received critical and international acclaim for its performances and poignant commentary on class divides and capitalism.
But while most of us are eagerly anticipating Season 2, Netflix has instead gone out of its way to recreate Squid Game in real life.
Enter Squid Game: The Challenge, a reality show competition that pits 456 actual people in the same series of games with real money on the line. The reality show faithfully brings many of the iconic sets and games to life and follows many of the same rules. But how are the real-life players eliminated from Squid Game: The Challenge?
'Squid Game: The Challenge tries to be authentic to a fault with eliminating players.
Let's get the obvious out of the way. No, the players in Squid Game: The Challenge don't actually die if they lose a game. While that much should be obvious for a reality game show, dedicated fans will likely have been curious as to how faithful the show would be to the source material.
That being said, there's a level of authenticity that The Challenge wants to provide with respect to Squid Game that some might argue goes too far.
In The Challenge, players are made to go through many of the same games that can be seen in the series. And if one fails a game at any point, they still get eliminated with no second chances.
Whenever a player is eliminated, a black ink squib will burst within their clothes, staining their clothes and essentially marking them as eliminated. These are even accompanied by a stark visual and audio cue whenever someone gets eliminated that simulates the fatal gunshots used to eliminate players in the original show.
While this method is rather faithful to the source material, it does seem rather tasteless to try and copy the grisly deaths that the players were subject to in the original game. The real players even simulate falling over and dying for added effect, which has some pretty jarring effect.
This method of elimination may be a bit much, but surprisingly enough, losing a game isn't the only way to get eliminated.
In a departure from the original show, The Challenge also features "tests of character" that typically take place within the player dorm in between actual games.
During these random tests, players will be given certain opportunities. These can involve helping other players or outright eliminating someone of their choice and everything else in-between. Even if you're successful in the games themselves, you're still not exactly safe in the interim.
Squid Game: The Challenge does everything it can to emulate the iconic show even with its creative liberties. But how much is too much when you're drawing inspiration from a series with an enormous fictional death count?