Squid Game: The Challenge Is A Different Beast Than The Original Series


  • Squid Game: The Challenge replaces real deaths with dramatic “eliminations” that look like players got shot, but the emotional impact is still real.
  • The reality TV version adds tests of character for players, creating a social element that allows them to make strategic decisions for themselves and their alliances.
  • Although some games from Squid Game are featured, Squid Game: The Challenge introduces new games and makes changes to ensure player safety, while still delving into the contestants’ psyches through confessional interviews.

Squid Game: The Challenge has become an overnight sensation much like the original series, Squid Game, leaving viewers wondering what the differences between the series are. Based on the incredibly popular award-winning South Korean drama, Squid Game: The Challenge is a reality TV competition series that takes some of the main points of the original series, but leaves many behind, as well. For viewers who have been interested in seeing Squid Game come to life, the reality TV version offers a completely separate view of the competition filled with strategy and skill, as well as a bit of chance. The competition has been narrowing down quickly with players being eliminated.

With $4.56 million on the line, Squid Game: The Challenge is going to change one player’s life entirely. While it’s not clear who the winner of the reality TV version of Squid Game will be yet, the competition has gotten down to its final 3 players. Many are curious about the finale episode of Squid Game: The Challenge, which will stream on Netflix on December 6, and others have been wondering about the way the reality TV version will handle some of Squid Game’s most controversial moments. There are some vastly major differences in the two competition series.


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Squid Game: The Challenge Takes The Element Of Death Out Of The Picture

The Stakes Are Still Incredibly High For Players

Squid Game The Challenge

The most obvious difference between Squid Game and Squid Game: The Challenge is clear. The South Korean drama series, which premiered in 2021 to rave reviews and awards acknowledgment, tells the story of a group of players in a similar style of competition, but when the players on the fictional series are eliminated, they’re killed immediately. Obviously, Squid Game: The Challenge doesn’t kill any of the eliminated players. Instead, players who are eliminated on the reality TV version have ink capsules beneath their shirts which implode when they’re out of the competition, making it look like they’ve been shot. The players sometimes fall to their “death”, but it’s all exaggerated.

Although the deaths on Squid Game: The Challenge aren’t real, some of the players actually do get deeply emotional about eliminations. While the majority of the players are going off of connections they made very recently, others are dealing with eliminations of real-life friends or family members. Seeing other contestants eliminated from the series has appeared to feel like a gut punch for many Squid Game: The Challenge players, as it genuinely seems to feel like someone close to them has died.

Squid Game: The Challenge Adds Tests Of Character For The Players

Contestants Must Think Strategically

While Squid Game is a prestige TV series that delves into the innerworkings of a capitalist, voyeuristic society, the reality TV counterpart takes the concepts from the original series and turns them around a bit. Squid Game: The Challenge incorporates the idea of tests of character for the players, asking them to use their instincts and morals to guide them in the game. While some have looked at the tests of character like a way to give back to other players, others realize that they’re an opportunity to be cut-throat in a way that’s, hopefully, anonymous.

Players are asked at various points throughout the game to vote for other players they’d like eliminated or offered advantages in the game for themselves and others. While Squid Game delved into the psyche of the players in a different way, Squid Game: The Challenge season 1 allows the players to zoom out of their own game and decide what’s best for them in some incredibly critical moments. Taking out the competition or offering their alliance an advantage, the tests of character add an excitingly social element to the series.

Squid Game: The Challenge Includes Different Games

Although some of the games featured on Squid Game made it to the reality TV version of the series, others disappointingly did not. Though Squid Game: The Challenge is still airing, the infamous Tug Of War game doesn’t seem to be a part of the roster. Instead, Squid Game: The Challenge created some new games, including Warships, and introduced the tests to supplement the social aspect of the experience. In creating a real life version of the terrifying series, the production team was tasked with pushing the limits of what they could do in order to make everything appear like the genuine Squid Game.

While many of the games from Squid Game are featured, some have gone through some changes in order to make them safe for players to actually compete in. Outside of the ink capsules making it known a player has been eliminated, Squid Game: The Challenge utilized stunt coordination for Glass Bridge, so that players wouldn’t actually have to fall through the glass to meet their faux-demise. There are likely even more surprising changes coming in the Squid Game: The Challenge season 1 finale.

Squid Game: The Challenge Delves Into Contestants Psyches

Players Get To Analyze The Game

Two Squid Game: The Challenge contestants with a lawsuit document

One of the most fascinating parts of Squid Game: The Challenge comes in the form of the confessional interview moments viewers get to see of the players. In moments alone prior to the competition and during the game, the players were interviewed about how they were feeling, what their strategies were, and how the game was changing for them. While the headspace of the players wasn’t always known during the original Squid Game, fictional characters are sometimes easier to read than actual people. Understanding the motivations, decision-making rationale, and goals of the players is a great touch for Squid Game: The Challenge.

Squid Game: The Challenge Requires More Social Strategy

Social Game Is A Huge Factor Of The Series

Squid Game: The Challenge players playing Red Light Green Light

Strategy was definitely a part of the faux game on Squid Game, but the real-life counterpart has a lot more by way of social strategy. Creating relationships and alliances is a massive part of the game, and as players have formed groups with others that have kept many of them safe throughout some tough challenges, it’s been fascinating to see how players choose to interact socially. Much like other reality TV competition series, going into Squid Game: The Challenge with any sort of real strategy seemed to hurt the players who did, but adapting to the game and understanding what social moves to make on the fly has been successful.

As Squid Game: The Challenge has continued on, seeing the way social relationships run the game has been a major benefit to the reality TV format of the show. The game itself is a highly intense, overwhelming experience for the players, and knowing that they’re also strategizing behind what the other players see has been refreshing for viewers. It’s been rewarding to know that the players on Squid Game: The Challenge are competing in every way for the massive, record-breaking grand prize.