It seems everyone and their aunts, uncles and neighbours are talking about the Korean thriller Squid Game. The grisly drama has become a global craze, topping the Netflix daily Top 10 chart since its release on 17 September. (Read our review of the show here.)
Squid Game involves deadly children's games, and only by winning them can the participants get a shot at clearing their impossible financial debts. In the last few episodes, it was mentioned that there are different versions of the games in different countries, though “the contest in Korea” was said to be “the best”.
So, what if Squid Game were to occur in Singapore? Here are some of the possible local children's games that could be played.
1. Block Catching
Block Catching is a variation of tag, except it is played around an apartment block, rather than an open space. Owing to the physical requirements of the game, which include not just running, but also the occasional stair-climbing, this is easily one of the most strenuous yet most fun childhood games.
As the first game of the contest, it has to be able to accommodate many players, and Block Catching fits perfectly. The game ends when all players are caught. But in the Squid Game version, Block Catching could be modified to include a time limit.
2. Five Stones
Five Stones, quite literally, is a game originally involving five stones. It was later played using pyramid-shaped cloth bags filled with sand or beans. The game starts off by dropping all five stones on the floor. After throwing one stone up in the air, you have to quickly grab another stone from the floor, then catch the first stone in your hand. You carry on until you collect all five stones in one hand.
Unlike the multi-player Block Catching, Five Stones is an individual game that tests one’s nimbleness with their hand. Failure to capture the stones in your hand could mean death in the Squid Game version.
3. Eagle Catches Chicken
This game pits an Eagle against a Hen and her Chicks, who stand behind her in a row. The Eagle will try to capture one of the Chicks, while the Hen will defend her Chicks from the Eagle. Eagle Catches Chicks is a game of agility, and is confined to a relatively smaller play area than tag.
The Squid Game version could be modified to become a team battle – the first team to have all their “Chicks” caught will lose.
4. Flag Eraser
If my memory doesn't fail me, a box of 48 pieces of "country erasers" used to sell at a dollar only at school bookshops. These erasers, each printed with a country flag, are essentially your “chips” to win more country erasers, especially the flags you don’t have in your box. The goal is to flick your eraser on top of your opponent’s.
Different from all the above children's games, Flag Eraser is a one-versus-one game. Squid Game version or not, it is a game that makes or breaks your friendship with your opponent.
5. Bestman Balloon
Possibly one of the favourites of most children, Bestman Balloon involves two tools: a tube of clear, gooey mixture, and a short, yellow straw to place the gel on and blow into to form a bubble-like balloon.
Other than skilfully blowing the balloon so that it does not burst, it also takes a bit of luck to get it to a certain size. The Squid Game version of this might require players to blow as big a balloon as they can without bursting or deflating it.
6. Pepsi Cola 1, 2, 3
The final game has to be Pepsi Cola 1, 2, 3, which can only have one winner. The players first gather in a circle, before saying in unison “Pepsi Cola” and jumping back “1-2-3” times as far away as possible. In one leap, each player then has to step on another player’s foot to eliminate them.
Obviously, the eventual winner will get the prize money in the Squid Game version.
Now that we’ve seen these six children's games that could possibly be played in the Singapore edition of Squid Game, which ones do you have fond memories of? Thankfully, none of these are as deadly in real life as the gruesome games in Squid Game.
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