'Squid Game: The Challenge' Keeps Players and Viewers on Their Toes With a Lot on the Line

The ‘Squid Game’ reality show is similar to the scripted series in some ways, but there are differences about how it works and what eliminations look like.

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Nov. 20 2023, Published 1:59 p.m. ET

Squid Game players in line
Source: Netflix

The Gist:

  • Squid Game: The Challenge is the reality show version of the Netflix scripted series Squid Game.
  • Season 1 of the reality show came before the second season of Squid Game premiered.
  • The rules in Squid Game: The Challenge are pretty clear right away.
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Even though the Squid Game reality show, Squid Game: The Challenge came before the second season of the overnight success series on Netflix, people were ready for more of the same wild competitions and emotional players. And that’s exactly what they get with the inaugural season of the reality competition series.

But for those who may still be a bit confused about how the Squid Game reality show works, there are similarities and differences to the original series to keep track of. In the scripted Squid Game series, 456 players compete in a series of intense playground games that are designed to literally kill off players one by one. The reality show isn’t deadly, but the consequences in regards to losing a shot at millions of dollars are still there.

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Squid Game players race to win Red Light, Green Light
Source: Netflix

How does the ‘Squid Game’ reality show work?

The reality show based on the scripted Korean thriller is pretty similar to the show that came before it. There are 456 players who all stay in the same open gymnasium-style dormitory. They sleep in bunk beds that are staggered in height and the players range in age all the way up to the oldest player, who is 69 years old.

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Contestants are instructed by a mysterious voice on the speaker system, who either explains that they have assigned chores, or lets them know to line up for the next game. And those games are mostly the same as in the scripted series. We have Red Light, Green Light to start, followed by the Dalgona Candy game. However, there are other games, including a Battleship-style competition and something involving a claw machine.

Squid Game guards enter the dormitory
Source: Netflix
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But the players in the Squid Game reality show are eliminated during and outside of those competitions, which is where it takes a detour from the original show. At any given moment, players may be instructed to make tough on-the-spot decisions. In those instances, everyone is at risk.

When players are eliminated in games, they leave almost immediately, much like players in the scripted series. Thankfully, no one is actually in danger of being harmed upon elimination in the Squid Game reality show. But the stakes are still high.

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Squid Game players get emotional
Source: Netflix

The prize in ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ is true to the original.

At the end of the season, one player stands to win $4.56 million. With each player’s elimination, $10,000 is added to the prize fund, which hangs above the dormitory in a clear piggy bank. Again, this is similar to the way it works in the scripted Squid Game show. It’s also the most money one person has ever stood to win in an American game show without returning, like Jeopardy! contestants.

Watch Squid Game: The Challenge on Netflix.

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