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Do you what someone with no money has in common with someone with too much money? Living is no fun for them. If you have too much money, no matter what you buy, eat, and drink, everything gets boring in the end.

Oh Il-nam to Seong Gi-hun

Oh Il-nam (오일남 O Il-nam?), also known as Player 001, was a rich tycoon owner who was the first host/creator of the Squid Games. In 2020, he competed as an elderly contestant in the 33rd Squid Game to relive his childhood memories before he died.[1]

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Personality

Throughout his life, Oh Il-nam was always looking for new ways to have fun. ll-nam seems to have affection for his family, especially his son, based on how he speaks about them.

Il-nam participated in the last death game he created while nearing the end of his life, the 33rd Squid Game, and genuinly enjoyed playing it. During the game, he befriended Seong Gi-hun and became his gganbu. Gi-hun was probably the first genuine friend ll-nam had in a long time, and because of this, Il-nam enjoyed playing with him. Before his death, Il-nam explained to Gi-hun that playing with him made him remember things from the past he had long forgotten. He also casted the decisive vote in the 33rd Squid Game, allowing the participants to go home.

History

As a child, Oh Il-nam would play with his friends until they got bored. Some of the games Il-nam played during his childhood included Red Light, Green Light, Marbles and Tug of War, rarely ever losing the latter. At some point he got married and had a child.

Eventually, Il-nam became a businessman and tycoon, but got bored with living a rich lifestyle. He then befriended some clients in his financial corporation, who shared Il-nam's thoughts on life being no fun for them despite their riches. Wanting to have some fun, Il-nam and his clients came up with the idea of the Squid Games, which began in 1988. Il-nam's clients became the VIPs, who have spectated the games ever since. Il-nam himself became the host, spectating the games alongside the VIPs from 1988 to 2019. He rationalised the games by stating that they offered some fun, and believed that poor people who played the games suffered as much as wealthy people in terms of lacking purpose.

2020

By 2020, Il-nam was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had not long left to live. Wanting to relive his childhood memories before his death, Il-nam believed he would have more fun playing the 33rd Squid Game rather than watching it, and decided to participate in the 33rd Squid Game.

When Seong Gi-hun first wakes up in his bunk bed at the training facility, one of the first details he picks up on is that every player has been assigned a number based on when they were recruited. As the last of the 456 players to sign his contract, Gi-hun is player 456. In what seems like a happy coincidence at the time, the first person Gi-hun speaks to is player 001, an elderly man named Oh Il-nam who lives with a brain tumor that seems to take a toll on his memory.

Taking pity on the older man for being at such a physical and mental disadvantage in the game, Gi-hun befriends Il-nam ahead of the first round. When it becomes clear that the games they're participating in are potentially fatal, most of the players panic and rush to find a way to escape, unlike Il-nam who remains unfazed and manages to inch across the line with a smile on his face in the "Red Light, Green Light" game before Gi-hun makes it across.

After the games are temporarily cancelled, Gi-hun has a surprise encounter with Il-nam at a convenience store a few blocks from his house. When Gi-hun asks Il-nam what he's doing in the area, Il-nam explains he was visiting a friend and sits down with Gi-hun to talk over a packet of ramen noodles. The two get along, and Il-nam uses their time together to discuss his desire to re-enter the games. Influenced by Il-nam's words and his mother's medical bills, Gi-hun also decides to return.

As the games continue, Gi-hun and Il-nam form an alliance with Ali Abdul, a factory worker from Pakistan, and Gi-hun's former classmate Cho Sang-woo. Despite his physical and mental disadvantages, Il-nam is able to breeze through the dalgona candy challenge in round two, in the third game was in the Team 4 and provided a tactical plan for the rest of his team in the tug-of-war challenge. At one point during the games, Il-nam had wet himself during the night, which Gi-hun covered up by tying his jacket round him.

Oh Il-nam's Elimination

Before the beginning of the marbles game, ll-nam was left without a partner, but later, Gi-hun, scared by the possibility of Il-nam being eliminated, agrees to be his teammate. When the game begins, Il-nam’s brain tumor blurs his memory and makes him believe that the makeshift town where the guards led them is actually the town where he grew up.

Prior to the reveal of the game's rules, Gi-hun and Il-nam had agreed to be eachother's "gganbu" (a player you pair up with and share all your items), however, upon discovering they would be playing against eachother, Gi-hun takes advantage of Il-nam's dementia and tricks him into losing some rounds.

After playing a few more rounds of even or odd, Gi-hun manages to get all but one of Il-nam’s marbles. As Il-nam stands up and roams the room, Gi-hun panics and begs for the final marble. At this point, Il-nam reveals he was lucid during the whole game, and knew that Gi-hun had been fooling him all the time. Still, he reminds Gi-hun that they are partners and agrees to give him the final marble. As Gi-hun walks towards the guards, a gunshot sounds, announcing Il-nam’s off-screen death.

2021

One year after the 33rd Squid Game, Il-nam invited the winner, Gi-hun, to his deathbed. Il-nam revealed his role as the creator and host of the Squid Games and explained his motivations to an angry Gi-hun. It is revealed that he is an extremely rich man who made his fortune by lending out money as a career, and created the Games as a source of amusement for other very wealthy people, who would bet on the outcomes and survivors of the games. Il-nam believed the Squid Games ultimately provided a service for the contestants as well, because even though the majority of them were killed, it also provided a distraction from their monotonous lives and an opportunity to win money and escape from their dire financial situations. He also viewed the games as a test of whether people have any innate goodness remaining, and after years of watching contestants betray each other to survive, he had adopted a pessimistic view of the nature of humanity.

Il-nam also explained that he participated in the Squid Games to have some final enjoyment in his life, as he had always been a spectator and never a participant. He made a final wager regarding the nature of humanity, observing a drunk man passed out on the street and betting whether he would receive help or not. Gi-hun wins the bet, and Il-nam dies moments later. Hwang In-ho pays his respects, and presumably becomes the new host.

Appearances

Oh Il-nam's appearances
Episode One Episode Two Episode Three Episode Four Episode Five Episode Six Episode Seven Episode Eight Episode Nine

Behind the scenes

Oh Il-nam was portrayed by actor Oh Yeong-su.

Trivia

References

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