The Squid Games are an annual competition in which hundreds of participants compete in a mysterious survival competition featuring a series of six games over the course of six days. The contestants who fail to win or follow the rules of the games correctly are killed. The sole survivor at the end of the competition wins a large amount of money; during the 33rd Squid Game in 2020, the prize winnings amounted to ₩100 million for each of the 456 contestants, or ₩45.6 billion in total.
The Squid Games were created by Oh Il-nam, a wealthy money lender and the "host" of the games. The first Squid Game was held in 1988, and 33 annual competitions have been held since its inception, with the most recent being held in 2020. The games are held in a massive facility located on a remote island; contestants are rendered unconscious before being brought to the arena to protect the confidentiality of the location. The specific types of games played in the Squid Game competition vary each year; in 2020, the games included Glass Stepping Stones, Marbles, Red Light, Green Light, Squid Game, Sugar Honeycombs, and Tug of War.
Players must willingly volunteer to participate in the Squid Games, and they are provided an opportunity to withdraw from the games before they begin. However, the Player consent form specifies that contestants are not allowed to stop playing once the games start, and any player who refuses to play is eliminated. The games may be terminated if a majority of the players agree during a democratic vote, although in that case, they are also afforded the opportunity to opt back in later. The rules are reinforced and the contestants are controlled by a large number of masked guards, who never reveal their faces or identities to the players, and regularly apply deadly force when enforcing the rules or eliminating players who lose competitions. As of 2020, the guards and overall games are managed by Il-nam's "Front Man" Hwang In-ho, who was the winner of the 28th Squid Game in 2015.
Il-nam created the game 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 are killed, it also provides a distraction from their monotonous lives and an opportunity to win money and escape from their dire financial situations. Equality was considered the most important aspect of the game, with every player receiving a fair game under the same conditions, which the organizers considered more fair than the inequality and discrimination the contestants faced in the real world.
The players will be given a card after having rounds of playing ddakji with the recruiter. The player will call the number on the back of the card. The receiver will then ask for the participant's name and birthday and gives them the password and a meeting time. The participant will be picked up by a workers who then gas them to knock them unconscious. Upon arriving the island, they are wheeled to a room where all their belongings and clothes (except for their undergarments) are kept in a box and changed into their player uniform. Then they are now put to their beds.
The cards are used for entering the game. They have a phone number on them which informs the player about where to get picked up by a Worker. The cards are later used by The Flower Seller to get in Seong Gi-hun in contact with the creator of the Games.
Contestants wear a sea-green jacket and a white shirt underneath for the top and sea-green pants and white slip-ons. The jacket has a high collar and a patch of the players' number on the left side of their chest and on the top of their back. The jacket sleeve has a white stripe that reaches to the elbow. Like their jacket, their pants also have a white stripe on each side of their pant leg and reaches down to the end. Their white shirts have sea-green lining on their collars and sleeves and their number is written in a big font-size on the back and the front.
The consent form states the rules of the Squid Games that the players must sign and follow.
|English (official Netflix subtitles)||
The list of the staff of the Squid Games is listed on their rank;
|Hwang In-ho||2nd Highest||Front Man|
List of winners
- 1988 (inaugural) — Noh Hyun-woo (Player 174)
- 1989 — Mun Jeong-ho (Player 129)
- 1990 — Park Pil-sam (Player 28)
- 1991 — Jang Soong-jong (Player 63)
- 1992 — Jo Su-jin (Player 187)
- 1993 — Choi Woo-seong (Player 112)
- 1994 — Kim Min-su (Player 258)
- 1995 — Park Tae-joon (Player 212)
- 1996 — Kim Kwang-hyun (Player 79)
- 1997 — Kim Young-cheol (Player 165)
- 1998 — Shin Jeong-woong (Player 66)
- 1999 — Oh Jeong-nam (Player 377)
- 2000 — Yoon Ji-Eun (Player 285)
- 2001 — Park Beong-Bun (Player 321)
- 2002 — ??? (Player 46)
- 2003 — ??? (Player 320)
- 2004 — Park Hyun-ho (Player 150)
- 2005 — Jo Jeong-hoon (Player 51)
- 2006 — Son Jeong-hee (Player 122)
- 2007 — Choi Kyung-soo (Player 229)
- 2008 — Kim Seong-baek (Player 376)
- 2009 — Lee Jong-su (Player 127)
- 2010 — Lee Seong-su (Player 325)
- 2011 — Park Mi-kyung (Player 115)
- 2012 — Bae Dong-il (Player 33)
- 2013 — Lee Young-hoo (Player 436)
- 2014 — Kim Tae-woo (Player 407)
- 2015 — Hwang In-ho (Player 132)
- 2016 — Joo Sung-hoon (Player 173)
- 2017 — Lee Sung-hoon (Player 300)
- 2018 — ??? (Player 294)
- 2019 — ??? (Player 17)
- 2020 — Seong Gi-hun (Player 456)
- 2021 — TBA
- The Squid Games endured until 2021, when Seong Gi-hun found that Oh Il-nam was the real leader, and was going to die in 2021.
- Red Light, Green Light
- The overall competition is confirmed to be called Squid Game, and the 2020 game is confirmed to be the 33rd annual game, by the archived files Hwang Jun-ho reads in the episode "A Fair World".
- One Lucky Day
- A Fair World
- This is revealed in the episode VIPS, when the individual VIPs note that they have watched several Squid Games in the past, but they do not know which specific contests will be featured in the current Squid Game until they occur.
- The Man with the Umbrella
- Stick to the Team