We FOMO And Came Up With Our Version Of Squid Game

·10-min read
What would our version of a Singapore reality TV version of "Squid Game" be like? | Image: Sim Ding En | Original photo: Unsplash/@mbuff

"Squid Game" is getting a real-life reality show? Wah can we part of it?! Who wouldn't want to win US$4.56 million sia 🤯.

The Korean survival drama is the most-watched series in Netflix history, taking the world by storm and spawning endless memes in 2021. So it came as no surprise when the streaming service announced it had greenlit a reality competition based on the childhood games depicted in the original show.

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Thankfully, there are no life-and-death stakes involved this time around - just the chance to win the largest lump sum prize in reality TV history.

Since two of us at Wonderwall.sg (Farhan and Nicholas) are uber FOMO about the whole thing, we immediately started fantasising about a 🇸🇬 version of the "Squid Games" reality show - with pretty legit justifications, even if we say so ourselves. Wanna play?

Red Light, Green Light

🇰🇷 version

Start with everyone along the starting line. When you say ‘Green Light’ everyone will move towards the finish line. When you say ‘Red Light’ everyone must immediately stop. The goal is to make it to a designated finish line within a time. Those who fail to do so get massacred to death… the usual.

Photo: 123RF

🇸🇬 version: Block Catching, Ice & Water, Police & Thief

Tag a person to oust them out of the game. The game ends when everyone is caught.

Another variation: one team of catchers (Ice) who have to tag the runners (Water) to freeze them in their spot. The game ends when all of Water guys are "frozen".

Police & Thief just switches the names of the teams but there is a "prison" or holding area where all the caught personnel are rounded up. You have the option to rescue your comrades by tagging them and releasing them from their capture.

Our version more tok kong leh

Nicholas: Can you imagine 456 people trying to run away from being caught? You could get the staff members to be the ones that “tag” them, or some creepy robot thing to chase them around.

Farhan: It’s the best way to thin out the field effectively. Red Light, Green Light’s fairly simple premise gets a local twist with the ultimate neighbourhood classic. It’s survival of the fittest where the fastest taggers can quickly eliminate the slow ones while the craftiest participants can choose to hide away until everyone is gone.

Nicholas: The madness would be insane sia. Like, lock them all up in a massive maze compound macam Mr Beast’s crazy tag videos.

Farhan: Imagine if they threw everyone inside a massive, abandoned HDB estate and just left everyone run wild. All hell would break loose! Just levels of chaos. Give me my popcorn already.

Nicholas: I don’t know why, but this setting reminds me of the beginning of the original Ah Boys To Men movie 😂

Entertainment value: 🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

Ppogi (Dalgona - Honeycomb Candy)

🇰🇷 version

Ppopgi, or dalgona, is a sweet treat made with caramelised sugar. The challenge: with only the help of a large sewing needle, pop out the shape that was pressed into the candy without breaking the shape, the most difficult one being that of an umbrella.

🇸🇬 version: Five Stones

Using five small tetrahedron bean bags (or "stones", cuz last time, they actually used stones), complete a series of eight steps which revolves around picking one bean bag, throwing it in the air, picking another and catching the first one at the same time. The number of bean bags you have to pick varies with each step. Essentially, if you have lousy hand-eye coordination, GG.

Our version more tok kong leh

Nicholas: Everyone seated, each taking their time to get all five stones in hand with a timer ticking down in the background. Then, every time one stone accidentally drops… *bang*, they’re out. Just like with Ppongi, it’s really all about patience.

Farhan: Yes, agreed. Five Stones captures the suspense and anxiety you would feel playing Ppongi. Imagine trying to focus on catching the stones with a bullet to your head. Good luck ah! Oh wait, this is supposed to be PG, perhaps an electric shock instead for every dropped bag?

Nicholas: Mix things up, like Ppongi, maybe some of the players get really odd shaped Five Stones?

Farhan: Have different weighted bean bags just to screw with the contestants. Perhaps one is made of glass or one is light as a feather. Imagine trying to catch that. Stress or what!

Entertainment value: 🤪🤪🤪

Tug Of War

🇰🇷 version

Pit two teams in a test of strength on elevated platforms by pulling on opposite ends of a rope. If your team manages to pull the rope past a certain distance, you win. The other team falls to their death… you know, the usual

🇸🇬 version: Congkak

The congkak board consists of two rows of seven holes called the "houses" and two bigger holes (one at each end) called the "storehouse" or "home". Opponents compete to get the most marbles, shells (cowry shells collected from the beach were the best!) or seeds (like the hard red seeds of the Saga tree) into their storehouses.

Our version more tok kong leh

Nicholas: I think tug-of-war, a bit common lah, everywhere also got. But pit the contestants 1-v-1 in a congkak deathmatch… Now that is some drama.

Farhan: Yeah man, I think Singaporeans are too sophisticated to be entertained by a simple test of physical strength. How about mental strength instead? There’s a reason why Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is such a hit as well. We want to see strategy and intellectuals showing off their capabilities. Aiyah, let’s just make it a great Singapore Science Challenge.

Have you ever sat through a chess competition before? Previously, I would have said it was fairly boring. That’s until Anya-Taylor Joy made me realise chess could be a ruthless, compelling sport. So it really depends on your perspective. But for the purposes of this reality show, it might be a bit boring. Maybe make it a giant-sized congkak board with the contestants as the moving parts. Now, we’re talking!

Nicholas: Wah, ok that is a twist I really want to watch.

Entertainment value: 🤪🤪🤪

Marbles

🇰🇷 version

Using your set of 10 marbles, play a game of your choice with your partner. The player who manages to take all 10 marbles from his or her partner wins.

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🇸🇬 version: Flag erasers

Flip your eraser with your thumb and get it atop your opponent’s eraser.

Our version more tok kong leh

Nicholas: I’m a huge fan of flag erasers. Don’t know where they've gone, but I really loved this game. And just like marbles in the original, you could pair people up to win all the erasers from your partner. Then… you know how the story goes lah. Elimination time!

Farhan: It’s such a nostalgic game, man! I used to remember collecting all my favourite countries and organising my very own flag eraser World Cup. I would pool my erasers with my classmates and we would create tournaments with each other. It was epic yet cut-throat. Imagine defeating their opponent and, as a result, winning their erasers. Stress, bro.

Nicholas: Camera going super close-up to the eraser as the main character flicks it… only for it to fly right over the opponent’s eraser. Drama sia.

Farhan: I can imagine it already. It will be like some anime-style showdown with close-ups and commentary. Perhaps they’re standing over a pit of death while playing the game. Ahh so many ways to play around with the environment. Plus, the actual eraser matches would be intense for sure.

Entertainment value: 🤪🤪🤪🤪

Bridge Crossing

🇰🇷 version

All players must jump their way across a bridge made up of pairs of glass panels. One glass is safe, but another will break when stepped upon and you plummet to your grisly death. Of course, if you go last, you would have the biggest advantage because the ones who went before would have marked out a safe path.

🇸🇬 version: Hopscotch

Draw the hopscotch pattern on the ground. Throw your marker (can be whatevs lah, even stones also can) onto the first square labelled “1”. Skip square 1 and hop on one foot through all the squares (except for double squares, those can have one foot on each square), then make your way back to pick up your marker in square 1 to complete the course.

Next, throw your marker to square 2, then hop through all the squares once more, skipping square 2. The first person to complete the hopscotch course wins. There are different variations, depending on how your gang sets the rules.

Our version more tok kong leh

Nicholas: I wouldn’t say hopscotch is any different from the bridge crossing, but we’re probably more familiar with this game on our playgrounds.

Farhan: Yeah, but it keeps to the spirit of the original game station in the show, with a local flavour. So the theme fits in a way. Put a countdown and start hopping. Let’s go!

Nicholas: One wrong step and you fall into the “abyss”, just like the original’s Bridge Crossing. Then there’s also the time limit too, which adds to the kan cheong-ness of it all.

Farhan: You’re right, we should elevate the hopscotch design onto glass panels. One wrong jump and you descend into the darkness below. Very evil, very nice.

Entertainment value: 🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

Squid Game (Ojingeo)

🇰🇷 version

The titular game is so-called because the game board drawn on the ground resembles a squid. The objective of the offensive team is to leave their area and make their way outside the squid to the bottom of the defensive house, then pass through the squid and enter the defensive house. They can only hop on one foot.

The defensive team wins by eliminating all the offensive team members, usually by pushing them across the line of the squid figure that they aren’t allowed to cross. Defensive team members can also be eliminated this way.

Confused? The video above might help.

🇸🇬 version: Pepsi Cola 123

All players stand in a circle. Altogether, everyone says, “Pepsi Cola” and then jumps back 1-2-3 times as far as possible. Then, taking turns, you need to jump and step on another player’s foot - if they get stepped on, they are out! The last man standing wins. You see! Standing Broad Jump had its uses.

Our version more tok kong leh

Nicholas: Back in school, this would be the most stressful game for me. After everyone gets eliminated and only three or four players remain, wah, just thinking about it makes my hands sweat. And when it’s down to the last two, the tension is palpable.

Farhan: Talk about a tense final game. With probably just the final two contestants left, the game should feel climatic yet intimately sinister. Pepsi Cola 123 feels like a showdown at the saloon where two gunslingers battle for the final time. The version of Pepsi Cola 123 that I remember from my childhood is, basically, thumb wrestling - can you imagine that version with feet?! Feels more epic leh. A fitting ending.

Nicholas: The Front Man said Squid Game was one of the violent games Korean kids played, and I think Pepsi Cola 123 is the same. Get the 🇸🇬 Squid Game down to the last three players, all vying to step on the other’s foot but just missing every time. For me lah at least, this would be an awesome finale.

Farhan: Agreed man! Now I’m really excited for this reality game show to come to life. I just need US$4.56million to produce it haha.

Entertainment value: 🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

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