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VOLUME 20 No 4

EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

NOVEMBER, 2021

 

SQUID GAME

iTOONS

PLAYING THE GAMES

FOUND BUT NOT LOST ON THE INTERNET

WHETHER REPORT

NEW SHOW HACK!

©2021 Ski

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EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

cyberculture, commentary, cartoons, essays
 
 

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SQUID GAME CYBERCULTURE

Netflix has invested $500 million to create new Korean programs for its international streaming channels. A breakout hit this year has been Squid Game from South Korea. The premise is not new: people's lives are used for entertainment. Hunger Games and Battle Royale were titles where human contestants battle to the death. Squid Game added the erie twist that the deadly contest uses beloved Korean childhood playground games.

In the preliminary round, the game is called DDAKGI, a “slap game” in which players alternate turns trying to flip a tightly packed paper square set on the ground to its backside.

In the US, there were a few school house paper folded games. One was table top football, where a piece of paper was folded into a triangle football. Players slid the football across a table. If it hung over the edge without falling over it would count as a touchdown. If it fell, no points were awarded. A player could call for a field goal. The player would tee up the football and finger flick it through this opponent's finger goal post to score. Another, popular with girls, was a folded square triangle that could manipulated to show different numbers squares. It was used as a fortune teller.

The first round in Squid Games was RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT. One person stands at the end of the field with his back turned against the players. The person either sings a song or counts numbers, at variable speeds, until he yells “Red Light!” to spin around to catch any player still moving forward. Any moving player is called out. The object of the game is for a player to tag the signal caller before he turns around.

Red Light Green Light was played in America. But there were other types of start-stop tag games. Elementary school children start their socialization with simple games like TAG or DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE. HIDE AND SEEK was a similar game where one player cannot see the other players at the start of a round.

The second round was a game called PPOPGI or the Honeycomb Game. A player is given a piece of honeycomb candy, a hard but at times brittle treat that has an imprinted shape like a star, circle, square or triangle. The game is that the player needs to cut out the shape with a needle without breaking or cracking the shape. It is much more difficult than it sounds.

In the US, we did not such a candy cut-out game. The closest memory is mean junior high biology teachers would bring in chocolate covered insects to class for the students to eat - - - a really gross pop quiz. If you gagged or vomited, you were ridiculed by the other students, which in some circles was worse than death. And speaking of death, the only needle game was a back yard classic called JARTS. A jart was a sharp large spike with arrow fins. You would toss it high in the air to try to land it on a target. The closest would win. However, the game was banned because serious injuries of the needles landing with velocity on kids heads and limbs.

The third round was TUG OF WAR. It is almost a universal game. It was a staple at summer camps and military run gym classes.

But more common rope games were Rope Climb and Jump Rope. Rope Climb was a timed ascent up a thick ship rope hung from the gym ceiling. Many kids could did not have the body strength to crawl up the rope (to the taunts of the gym teacher). Girls at recess used to Jump Rope, either individually or as trio counting as many clean jumps made by a person.

The fourth round was MARBLES. Also a common game around the world, but with various ways to play. In Korea, it was played in a traditional method of dropping you marbles in a circle then outside try to knock out your opponents balls. If you hit one, you got to keep it. Another way to play was odd-even A player would place marbles in his hand and his opponent would have to guess odd or even. If he guessed right, he'd win the marbles. If he lost, he would have to give up an equal number of marbles to his opponent. It was really an early simple form of gambling, which except for the state lottery, is illegal in South Korea.

In some American schools, kids had different size marbles: regular and Jumbo. It took two hits to win a Jumbo marble. And some kids had steel ball bearings called “steelies,” which you had to hit three or four times in order to win. A similar hand coordination game was JACKS. A small rubber ball was bounced on the ground as a player attempted to pick up jacks (steel pointed stars) in a successive order of one, two three, etc. If you missed a jack or did not catch the ball, you would be out.

The fifth round was GLASS BRIDGE crossing. Players would have to move forward along a glass bridge. Some glass was tempered and some regular plate panels. If you stepped on a weak one, you would fall to your death.

In the US, the only children's bridge or agility games were JUNGLE JIM battle for boys or HOPSCOTCH for girls. A jungle jim was a horizontal ladder placed five feet off the ground. Opponents would climb up to either end and meet halfway. They would kick and tug each other until one would fall to the ground. In Hopscotch, a stone pebble was placed in a square that could not be touched. So a girl would use a series of one and two foot jumps in rapid succession to complete the course. In some variations, the girl had to reach over and pick up the stone without losing her balance.

The sixth round was the SQUID GAME. A completely unique field game where a pattern was placed on the school ground dirt. Defenders play defense instead the shapes while the attackers play outside usually hopping on one foot. The idea was to fight your way to the squid's head and tap a triangle without being pushed out. If you got to the triangle and yelled Hooray! your team would win.

America had many field battle games. RED ROVER pitted two teams that lined up facing each other. One team would call a player over. That player had to run to try to break through the interlocked arms of the calling team. If he did not, he would have to join his opponent. If he won, he'd take out one of his opponents. CAPTURE THE FLAG was another field game. Teams hid their flags. The object was to capture your opponent's flag and return it to your HQ without being tagged. If you were tagged, you were sent to jail. You could only be released if a teammate tagged you.

Similar attacking games included DODGEBALL where gym balls were thrown across the gym court. If you hit someone they were out. If you caught the ball, the thrower was out. Last man standing won for his or her team. FOUR SQUARE was another game in which a field of four touching squares were laid out. A player hand balls a rubber ball to another square. That must use his hand to return it to another square or he'd be out. Last person standing would win the game.

What Squid Game has brought more than a drama is nostalgia. It is interesting that no matter the culture, children found ways to entertain themselves when they played outdoors. The games had similar physical requirements: speed, strength, coordination, balance and strategy. They were early learning applications as well as being fun.

If there is a Squid Game sequel, as Netflix is want to do, what would be the seventh game?

 

 

iToons

 

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PLAYING THE GAMES TRENDS

In less than a month since its release on Netflix, Squid Games fans have signed up for real life events based on the South Korean drama series. Squid Game tournaments are being hosted around the world- - - minus killings Fox News reported that The Korean Cultural Center in the United Arab Emirates already hosted a KCC Squid Game Event on October 12, 2021 where 30 applicants were welcome to play games from the hit show. Participants traveled to the cultural center in Abu Dhabi and reportedly played four out of six of the games that were featured in the series, including Red Light, Green Light; the Dalgona candy challenge; marbles game and Ddakji a folded paper tile game where opponents throw their tiles at the ground to try and flip the paper.

But it was reported in Europe that several unofficial Squid Game tournaments lead to violence. People took the challenges too serious and wanted to punish their opponents like the guards did in the series.

Games are made to have fun. But in some people's minds, violence equates to fun.

Fans were not the only ones playing the game. Bloomberg News announced that Netflix reported it earned $891.1 million USD in impact value since Squid Games release. Netflix claims it made more than 40 times of original investment as the show had cost $21.4 million USD to produce --- about $2.4 million for each episode. According to internal documents, 132 million people watched Squid Games for more than two minutes within the first 23 days after its release. Of these viewers, 89% watched at least one episode, and 87 million, or 66%, binge-watched through to the last episode.

Netflix does not use traditional rating metrics to show how popular or profitable its shows are in the industry. It was not happy that its confidential documents were released to the press. In the third quarter, Netflix made $1.4 billion US, but only grew 4.4 million new subscribers. It has a total of 222 million subscribers, but in many countries customers have been dropping the service (which is similar to the cord cutting trend in cable television).

To get an objective gauge of operating success, one could use the net earnings divided by average subscriber quarterly income to calculate Netflix getting a return on investment of about 24 %. But if you track new subscribers to a hot property like Squid Games, it cost Netflix $6 per new subscriber or 75% of basic month subscription price. For a blockbuster media attention series, Squid Games only drew interest from 38% of its subscription base.

It is harder and harder to compete for blockbuster media content. This is why Netflix, Apple TV and Disney Plus are all investing in producing original Asian content to import to America viewers.

 

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FOUND BUT NOT LOST ON THE INTERNET

South Korea's popular Squid Games drama has transcended cultures. An international fan of Korean actress Son Ye Jin made her pet puppy a Squid Game Halloween costume. Son posted pictures on her IG account. There have been more than one million likes of her puppy pictures. Son herself is no stranger to international acclaim; her last TV series, Crash Landing on You, continues to rank high on Netflix popular titles after two years.

Source: instagram/twitter

 

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