UAE: Residents play real-life ‘Squid Game’ in Abu Dhabi, without the violence

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Abu Dhabi - The Korean Cultural Center in UAE on Tuesday organised their own version of the popular children’s games.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Wed 13 Oct 2021, 10:02 AM

Last updated: Wed 13 Oct 2021, 1:54 PM

Abu Dhabi fans of the popular South Korean Netflix show, ‘Squid Game’, were excited about getting the chance to experience a real-life version of the children’s game' -- but without the violence depicted in the series.

The Korean Cultural Center (KCC) in the UAE on Tuesday organised their own version of the children’s games -- seen in the series -- for two teams, with a total of 15 participants for each session.

“I am excited to be part of the game. I’m a fan of the Netflix show and it feels amazing to experience the real-life ‘Squid Game’,” said 25-year-old Shatha Khader, an Emirati post-graduate student.

“I learned about this 'Squid Game' tournament on social media and decided to register.”

Filipino student, Dianne Plantilla, 19, who also participated in the children’s game said: “I am a keen follower of the popular series and I hurried to register with the Korean Cultural Center when they invited people to participate in the game.”

Another fan, Mohamed Al Ajmi, 26, an Omani Patient Experience Officer said that the popular Netflix show is among the best series he has watched this year.

“It’s such an interesting show and I have participated in the 'Squid Game' tournament to get the real experience,” he said.

The event attracted mostly young men and women, who have been following the hit Netflix show.

Real-life 'Squid Game' in Abu Dhabi, without the violence

The Korean drama, written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, has topped Netflix’s global viewership charts, according to the company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos. The nine-episode show follows the story of 456 cash-strapped contestants who are risking their lives for a massive cash prize.

How the KCC 'Squid Game' was played

During the game, participants wore white T-shirts with the Squid Game logo while the staff donned the circle, triangle and square costumes worn by the guards in the show.

The whole game was tournament-based, and players who lost were able to watch the game separately without being ‘eliminated’.

The games played included the Green Light and Red Light, where a person whose movement is detected was eliminated, the Glass stepping stones, which involved KCC doing the floor stepping stones instead but was run exactly the same as in the Squid Game series.

The Honeycomb toffee game (a.ka. dalgona game) involved participants taking out the shapes marked, while in the Marbled game two players were paired to play a game with marbles, and those who exhausted all the beads were eliminated.

The fans also took part in Ttakji, where players held Ttakji and whoever flipped over the other’s ttakji first was the winner.

'Squid Game' is Netflix's biggest original show debut

Overwhelming response

Nam Chan-woo, director of the Korean Cultural Center said to Khaleej Times: “We have been overwhelmed by the great response from people who wanted to participate in the 'Squid Game'.

“A total of 338 people applied to participate in the event but we only chose 30 of these and divided them into two rounds to play in the tournament.”

According to Chan-woo, the games seemed a bit brutal in the series for dramatic effect, however, actually all the games shown in the series are popular games played by Korean children for generations.

“We organised the event so that people in the UAE can learn more about Korean culture by participating in this children’s game,” he added.

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