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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Squid Games come to Carleton

On Saturday, Apr. 20 at 6 p.m., about fifty Carleton students gathered in the Rec to compete in Squid Games, a series of multiplayer activities inspired by the popular Netflix series that bears its name. Hosted by the Korean Student Association (KSA), the games continued until every player but one had been eliminated.

“It was something that we wanted to do that was big and involved the wider community. Usually we’ve done food nights, movie nights, sometimes we do karaoke… [but, the show] is still pretty popular. Squid Games season two is coming out; Netflix is making a real life series,” said Acacia Coker ’24, who dually serves KSA as the resource allocations and the communications officer. “People have done many imitations… and we wanted to see if we could actually do this as a KSA board and see how it goes. And I think people liked it.”

“This was the first Squid Games, hopefully the first annual Squid Games, that we’ve done…I think it was pretty successful,” continued Coker. “We had a lot of people sign up to the point where we had waitlists…50 people RSVP’d, and I think that, out of that, 47 showed up.”

One such attendee was Joanne Chung ’26, who decided to attend the event because “as a member of KSA, I wanted to support my friends on the board and apply! Also,” she continued, “it seemed like a fun experience and I was curious to see how the Squid Games would be replicated at Carleton.”

To host a mock Squid Games at Carleton, the KSA Board had to begin planning the event far in advance, taking into account their available resources and limitations.

“The events went smoothly. We did a lot of practices and rehearsals of the logistics. We made some modifications during these trials to get the event to go as smoothly as possible…And also, we were at the Rec, so we had some limitations with what we could do in the space,” said Coker. “We were also on a time limit because the Rec closed at 8:00, so we had to immediately start at 6:00.”

One of their priorities of holding this event was to ensure that they, like the Netflix series, also based each round’s activity off of a traditional Korean children’s game, which allowed players to experience these culturally significant games first-hand throughout the evening.

The rounds were “all traditional Korean children’s games,” said Coker. But compared to the television show’s rounds, “[the KSA Board] had to remove some things, like the game with the candy.”

In the show, players were given a dalgona cookie, made out of honeycomb, and instructed to chip away at a shape, such as a star or triangle, without breaking the fragile cookie itself.

In reality, however, they are “hard to make. Doing that 30 times—no way. That’s the most unrealistic part of the [Squid Games] series,” said Coker. “There’s no reason to do that…But we tried to use traditional Korean kids games.”

In total, there were six rounds. The games kicked off with a round of ‘Red Light, Green Light,’” where players ran according to these traffic signals and were subsequently eliminated when caught disobeying them. Chung personally enjoyed this round, stating, “it was fun to watch others run to the finish line.”

The following activity was jump rope, in which players organized themselves into teams of eight and had to coordinate jumping rope as one unit without tripping or otherwise missing the jumps. After the teams with the lowest jumps were eliminated, players were divided into teams for dodgeball until twelve people were eliminated.

“The next one was a hand clap game. You had to knock your opponent over just by clapping their hands,” said Coker. “And then, we did paper airplanes. The final game…you had coins, and you tried to knock other players’ coins off the table by flicking them.”
While the rounds’ activities were a surprise to the players, there were other challenges throughout the games that helped make them as unpredictable as possible.

“There were a lot of surprises, so [I saw] how people react to those surprises. We had a surprise where you just make a paper airplane and fly it close to the target — pretty straightforward — and we had an array of different sized papers with a corresponding number,” Coker. “We told them [at the beginning] to choose a paper, but we didn’t tell them what it was for. And then later, we revealed that it was for making paper airplanes. And it’s like, ‘Oh. We have to make a paper airplane with a [post-it note size] piece of paper’…So I enjoyed seeing how it went [down].”

Overall, players seem to have enjoyed the event as well as passing students and friends of the players who chose to spectate.
“People were really engaged. We didn’t think that we’d have spectators, so that was really cool,” said Coker. “And people seemed like they had fun and were talking about it even after the event.”

“I was part of registration, and it was kind of cool to see how the numbers dwindled as the game progressed because you just never know what’s going to happen. Creating it was fun but also seeing it come to fruition is really fun,” continued Coker. “And having spectators, people to cheer you on — I think that made it a lot more fun. A lot of people stayed behind [after being eliminated], which we were surprised by and really happy to see.”

From the players’ side, the event seems to have been a social and enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
“I thought the experience was very fun and although I was eliminated in the second round, it was fun to compete with friends,” said Chung, “I would participate in Carleton Squid Games again and it was actually very well organized, which exceeded my expectations because the Squid Games consist of extremely large-scale, high-budget competitions.”

“I mainly decided to sign up because it seemed like a good opportunity for some fun competition with my friends; we went into it not with the expectation of winning but of having a good time, and in that sense it definitely delivered,” said Oskar Alexander ’27, who also attended the event. “I had a great time hanging out, playing games and cheering my friends on. I’d absolutely do it again; the drama and tension of every moment made each game a lot of fun. My overall favorite moment was seeing the crazy dodges people pulled off at the very end of the dodgeball game.”

Player 44, Kian Hammer ’27, was the final winner and received the $100 prize.

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About the Contributor
Zoe Roettger
Zoe Roettger, Features Editor
Hi there!  I'm Zoe (she/her), and I'm a prospective Linguistics major with a Classics minor.  I love anything language-related, arts-related, writing & reading, and cats.  I also have a spider plant named "Pulchra," which, against all odds, is still alive.  When not testing my plant's resiliency, I can usually be found in Anderson or Blue Monday. Zoe Roettger '27 was previously an Arts & Features writer.

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