Netflix’s latest most popular series is Squid Game, a South Korean survival drama television series written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk. Within a week, it became one of Netflix’s most-watched programs in several regional markets.
Squid Game tells the story of a contest where 456 players, drawn from different walks of life but each deeply in debt, play a set of children’s games with deadly penalties for losing for the chance to win a ₩45.6 billion prize. Unlike The Hunger Games, where the tributes were forced to participate in the games (excluding the Career Tribute volunteers and those like Katniss who volunteer for their loved ones), the participants in Squid Game freely signed up for the contest and chose to continue participating, even when they had to kill their fellow participants in order to win.
Squid Game was originally scripted in 2008, which is the same year that The Hunger Games first came out. I am not suggesting that Squid Game stole its ideas from The Hunger Games, but it is interesting that more and more of our morbid fascinations with what people would do to survive are coming to the fore in this present time.
The Hunger Games was among the first in its line of dystopian series where people would do whatever it takes to survive, including fighting to the death. Other series like the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and The Testing Trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau highlight just how far people would go in order to survive, succeed, win money. The sad thing is, what makes these series so believable is the fact that humans probably would go to such dire lengths in order to obtain what they desire. Why else would we be so fascinated with reading books and watching movies and TV series where winning equals survival and money, and losing equals death?
Survival of the fittest is something that has been prevalent in literature for years. Lord of the Flies came out as early as 1954 and to this day, it is still taught as literature in schools. Decades from now, I wonder what future generations would think about The Hunger Games! A few weeks ago, the attendants of the 2021 Met Gala were compared to citizens of the Capitol of Panem, to the point of trending on Twitter for their outfits and appearances. It is terrifying to think that such a dark dystopian future might not be as far off as we might think!
If you like Squid Game on Netflix, check out this list of recommended books similar to The Hunger Games that you might like!