What made Squid Game so popular? 

Samuel Edwards

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The Squid Game

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll be fully aware of the hype surrounding Squid Game, a Netflix show that features hundreds of cash-strapped contestants as they attempt to complete a variety of deadly games. The show, which has been officially renewed for its second season on Netflix, is one of the most popular ever and has received global attention. 

In fact, the success of Squid Game is unrivalled. The most-watched show on all streaming services was enjoyed by over 140 million households around the world while also hogging social media timelines and YouTubers’ video content. The success of Squid Game was unexpected, too. Many people didn’t know what to expect given its name, with some predicting some sort of informative dive into a gaming product, perhaps the type you’d find at a mobile casino Canada or on a sophisticated PS5 console. 

What people found instead, though, was one of the most unique and highly entertaining shows ever made. As word spread and the hype grew, people then prepared themselves for a gruesome game-filled extravaganza. But why did people want to watch Squid Game so much and what made it so popular? Let’s assess some of the main reasons behind its success below. 

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A truly gripping and universal storyline 

Although the show was set in South Korea, people around the world could relate to its general focus on financial struggle and the difficulties people face throughout their lives. While we can’t all relate to being bundled into the back of car, drugged, and taken to a remote island to take part in some highly dangerous games, people can identify with a desire to find money in times of need. Throw in the identifiable characters, from an elderly man to a Pakistani immigrant, and it’s easy to see why so many people were gripped by the show’s overall narrative. 

As such, viewers had characters they were rooting for. Additionally, the show’s plot made a variety of kids’ games seem incredibly dark. Some of the games featured are popular around the world, although not usually in such a gruesome format. With the games being familiar to some and easy to understand for others, it resulted in a truly bizarre mixture of nostalgia and the fear of watching a wave of brutal deaths. 

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South Korean productions are growing in reputation 

A few years back, most people wouldn’t have given a South Korean production much consideration. Now, thanks to the emergence of hugely successful movies like Okja and Parasite, people are discovering the array of talented writers, directors and actors in that part of the world. Once Squid Game’s momentum grew further and headlines were being written globally, many people thought it was another gem from a South Korean production team. Luckily for them, they  weren’t wrong either. 

The visuals and set designs are unforgettable 

There’s a reason why Squid Game-themed Halloween costumes were so popular immediately after the show. Put simply, people loved the all-around look of the now-famous Squid Game costumes. Although simplistic, the costumes featured throughout were intriguing and eye-catching, resulting in a tense and unpredictable batch of characters in the process. For the viewing audience, the pink jumpsuits, weapons, and masks painted with a square, circle, or a triangle were oddly fascinating. Throw in the abhorrent games set against a childish backdrop, and it’s easy to see why the show drew so many people in. In terms of being different and offering something viewing audiences haven’t really seen before, Squid Game hit the nail on the head. With a second season on the way, excitement is understandably growing. 

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