Netflix subscribers continue to gravitate to the new Korean-language survival drama Squid Game. The series follows the debt-ridden Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) as he blindly agrees to take part in a contest that could make him rich, only to discover losing the game could cost him his life. You would think that, considering the potential consequences, no one would ever want to play a real life version of Squid Game, and yet it’s happening.
As reported by Business Insider, The Korean Cultural Center of the United Arab Emirates is putting together its own versions of most of the contests from Squid Game tomorrow, Tuesday, October 12. The games will be held at the Cultural Center’s office in Abu Dhabi. Of course, none of the contestants will be harmed, and contestants merely needed to fill out an online form, without enduring any series of slaps from game recruiters. Nam Chan-woo, the Cultural Center’s director, said the event is being used to introduce Korean culture to the people of the United Arab Emirates.
Along with being less lethal than what the characters in Squid Game experience, the Cultural Center’s event will be much smaller than what you see on the series. Rather than the 456 contestants, the reenactment will have two teams of 15 players each, playing four of the series’ six games: “Red Light Green Light,” “Dalgona Candy,” “Marbles,” and “Ddakji.” The games will be held in two hour sessions, and anyone eliminated will be allowed to watch the rest of the competition from the sidelines. Rather than a cash prize in the millions or billions, the winner of the re-enactment will get a custom green tracksuit similar to what the characters wear in the show.
Abu Dhabi isn’t the only place where the fantasy of Squid Game and real life are colliding. Kim Gil-young, a woman who runs a business in the southeastern South Korea county of Seongju, has been inundated with prank phone calls and text messages. Part of Gil-young’s phone number was printed on an invitation card in a Squid Game scene, and she is not happy about it. The story has gotten so much attention that even the presidential candidate Huh Kyung-young offered Gil-young $100 million won (over $83,000) for her phone number, but the businesswoman says the number is integral to her livelihood. Netflix is in the midst of editing the scene to remove the numbers and is asking fans to stop calling it.
Gil-young isn’t the only person in South Korea with a bone to pick with Netflix over Squid Game either. The country’s second biggest Internet service provider SK Broadband is suing Netflix over usage fees it says the streaming service owes. Netflix’s data traffic has reportedly increased 24 times since May 2018, putting extra stress on SK Broadband without extra compensation. As pointed out by ScreenRant, there’s an interesting level of irony to the situation, considering how critical Squid Game is of capitalism.