If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already watched Squid Game, Netflix’s newest hit K Drama that everyone is talking about. Directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, season 1 was released on Sept 17th and within 2 weeks, the show has a huge following. Ready to try the game for real? Visit the Squid Game Pop-up in Itaewon, Seoul.
Squid Game centres around a group of individuals whom are badly in debt, competing in popular children’s games for the prize of a life-changing sum of money. The catch? If they lose the game, they die.
Despite their huge debts, we quickly sympathise with the main characters, most of whom are desperate to provide for their families, as well as a kindly old man close to the end of his life. However, the closer they get to the prize, corruption and manipulation sets in…
The show has been compared with the likes of other survival sensations like Black Mirror, Battle Royale and the Hunger Games, known for their global success. This is quite remarkable considering Squid Game is a Korean Drama featuring many concepts alien to foreigners.
While the aforementioned TV and film are known for their twist endings and crescendos, every episode of Squid Game is filled with memorable moments. The show combines elements of drama, comedy and horror and ties them together with enticing mystery.
The makers of Squid Game have no issues sending our hearts on a rollercoaster ride; exposing the hidden depths to certain characters, before ripping them away — either through death or betrayal.
The tumultuous course of the relationships between the players makes for a riveting watch. Of course, the show makes excellent use of cliff hangers, making it near-impossible to watch just one episode. I will be careful not to reveal the finale, but Squid Game’s fast-accumulating fanbase are already anticipating future seasons.
Welcome to the playground. Let the games begin. Fans will recognise the playground as the venue of the second game, the infamous dalgona challenge. In fact, cutting out dalgona (honeycomb) shapes is a popular game played by Korean children. Masked men with guns and blood-stained swing sets and slides encapsulate the uncanny nature of the drama.
The Squid Game playground and other important objects from the show have been re-created at Itaewon Station, by Netflix. You can visit the exhibition from Sept 26th, any day of the week between 12 – 9pm.
As you enter through the station doors, you’ll see the giant hanging piggy bank that the Squid Game players gazed at with hunger. When I first saw it, I immediately recalled the arcade-machine sounds and flashing lights that appeared whenever money was added to the piggy bank after a player’s death.
Moving deeper into the station, you’ll notice the steps painted in the iconic colours of the Squid Game set. From the pastel colours of the winding staircases to the iconic hot pink of the masked guards.
Once you arrive at the playground, you can enjoy taking pictures next to the apparatus, as well as the staff, who are dressed just like the guards from Squid Game.
One thing that’s sure to bring you to a halt is the sight of the creepy doll from the first game. On a lighter note, visitors to the pop-up have the opportunity to win a Squid Game prize package. All you need to do is upload a photo of yourself at the pop-up to your SNS. Those who take part are given a Squid Game-themed thank you gift.
The fun doesn’t stop there. You can have a go on the giant gumball machine in the centre of the platform! Once you receive a ball, you can try and answer the question printed inside. Submit the correct answer on Instagram or Twitter, using the designated hashtags #라떼최애골목놀이 #오겜월드 and you will be entered into a prize draw with the chance of winning special Squid Game merchandise.
The pop-up was initially opened from Sept 5th – 18th, then extended following its popularity. However, due to a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, it was closed until further notice.
While it is not available to the general public, it is a fantastic way to advertise the show! Would you have gone to the pop-up if you had the opportunity? If you liked this place then you will also enjoy another themed cafe like the Harry Potter cafe in Seoul.
Stay tuned to KoreabyMe.com for additional updates on the Squid Game pop-up and other upcoming events. Alternatively, visit the Harry Potter cafe in Hongdae for another interactive experience that’s not just a pop-up!