A Much Tamer, Real-life Version of Netflix's 'Squid Game' Is Happening in Abu Dhabi
"Squid Game," the Korean smash hit TV show following an intense high-stakes competition, has taken the world by storm. Since its release on Sept. 17, the drama has taken the no. 1. most-watched spot on Netflix — and now, the game is coming to life.
The Korean Cultural Center in Abu Dhabi is hosting a real-life Squid Game this week. With a few crucial differences: winners won't take home a $38 million jackpot and the losers are simply eliminated and become spectators.
In the show — which Netflix's CEO predicted "to be our biggest non-English language show in the world" — hundreds of people are lured into the game with the promise of paying off their debts by playing (and winning) simple games from their childhood. But if they fail, they are immediately killed — although the games played at the Korean Cultural Center (KCC) will be the same, the stakes are much, much lower.
"The games played in the Netflix series are popular amongst children in Korea, and remind Korean adults of nostalgic childhood memories. But similar traditional games are played by children here in the UAE, too," Nam Chan-woo, director of the KCC, recently told Insider. "I hope the global popularity of 'Squid Game' will be an opportunity to spread other aspects of Korean culture too, such as Hangeul (the Korean alphabet), taekwondo, as well as K-dramas and movies."
Participants will play four games from the show, including two that have gone viral on TikTok including "Red Light, Green Light," the "Dalgona Candy Challenge," "The Marbles Game" and paper-flipping challenge "Ddakji Game."
Only 30 people will be able to play the game, and it is only open to UAE residents. Those who are chosen to play will don t-shirts with the show's logo. Staff running the event will wear the imposing pink jumpsuits the show's guards wore during the games.