Everyone could have won ‘Squid Game’ hopscotch, and that’s just bad game design

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Netflix’s South Korean superhit Squid Game is a chilling collection that twists the harmless aesthetics of childhood — sunny days on the playground, primary-colored shapes, and schoolyard video games — into a deadly contest that brings out the worst in humanity. Extra chilling, nonetheless, is the conclusion that the video games themselves are usually not a one-off try and wring some leisure worth out of the working class. They’re a whole business that churns out video games everywhere in the world with an identical, repeatable outcomes. A whole lot enter, one emerges, and the video games play on on the subsequent location. All the things that occurs within the video games is torture for the gamers, however for the individuals who run them, it is just one other day on the workplace. And just like a standard workplace, some persons are straight-up bad at their jobs.

The primary three video games in Season 1 of Squid Game had remarkably simple win circumstances. Purple Gentle Inexperienced Gentle provided the easy binary of transferring or staying nonetheless. (Standing behind one other participant in order that the big cursed doll could not see you was extra of a method than a loophole.) The honeycomb game additionally inspired backdoor options and didn’t punish gamers who tore or licked their sugar form as a substitute of poking it out (Mi-Nyeo’s trick with the lighter was dishonest, although). Game three was tug-of-war and its winners have been determined by the neutral choose that’s gravity. However after that, the game designers principally turned in half-finished work and known as it a day.

Game 4 snapped away from the swaddling consolation of construction and left the foundations of the marbles game as much as the contestants. Whereas the metagame of tricking the gamers into self-selecting their very own opponents was a stroke of evil genius, all of the designers needed to do was chuck a bag of glass at a bunch of trauma victims and inform them to determine who dies subsequent. Is that this inventive? Sure, however it’s also lazy. That laziness continues into the design of the fifth game, which winnowed the sixteen contestants right down to the ultimate three and set the stage for the dramatic and eponymous Squid Game finale.


The fifth game was Glass Stepping Stones/hopscotch, and it is right here the place the in-universe designers actually shit the mattress. There’s a large design flaw on this game’s format, and it is accompanied by a guidelines’ loophole sufficiently big for all sixteen of the gamers to waddle by way of. First, check out the game board:

Spoiler: he can't do it.

Spoiler: he cannot do it.
Credit score: Netflix

Now, recall the foundations (as said in Squid Game’s translated English subtitles; so it’s attainable there are more clarifying clauses that shut this loophole in Korean):

“The fifth game is Glass Stepping Stones. Every stepping stone is product of certainly one of two sorts of glass, tempered glass and regular glass. Tempered glass may even face up to the load of two gamers, however regular glass will shatter with just one individual. Gamers, you’ll resolve which one of many two tiles is product of tempered glass, and step on these as you cross by way of 18 pairs of tiles. for those who safely cross to the opposite facet, you cross.”

These guidelines solely outline two win circumstances. Gamers should “resolve which tile is tempered glass and step on these” and “safely cross to the opposite facet” so as to cross. The details about the varieties of glass and how a lot weight they will face up to is fascinating, however finally superfluous as a result of there’s nothing within the guidelines that claims gamers have to leap on them. They solely have to step.

The proposed answer for the hopscotch game does not require the gamers to work collectively and even to love one another. All they have to do is stroll on the center beams between the glass panels, proper foot on the correct beam, and left foot on the left, and shuffle/waddle ahead in a barely wider-legged stance than traditional. The glass panels are affixed to the highest of every beam, so each participant will “step” on the tempered glass of every pair in some unspecified time in the future on their manner down the road.

If the game designers wished to be choosy in regards to the guidelines (and they clearly weren’t at this level within the game), the gamers could arbitrarily “resolve” which of the panels is tempered and shout their solutions out loud as they contact every pair, as a result of once more — there’s nothing within the guidelines that claims the gamers have to resolve appropriately. They just have to select and hold it transferring.

Whereas the gamers on this Squid Game didn’t see the apparent answer in entrance of them, it is attainable that future gamers will. If the game designers wish to benefit from the costly circus setup and do this game once more, they’ll have to strive loads more durable to make it inescapably lethal. One choice can be to maneuver the beams farther aside, however that runs the chance of the gamers not having the ability to leap between them. It is solely enjoyable if the gamers fall as a result of they selected the mistaken panel, not as a result of they have tight hamstrings and poor depth notion.

The way in which to make glass hopscotch actually particular can be to depart all the pieces precisely as it’s and subtly bait the gamers into making an attempt the beam-stepping answer on their very own. Then, when the primary smarty-pants tries to make a run down the center, the game designers could toss in a reminder of who actually has the ability right here. Electrify the beams with a lethally excessive voltage. Superheat them to red-hot temperatures, or conceal spikes contained in the metallic that solely emerge when somebody steps on them. Put a snake in there. Make them chains as a substitute of beams so all the pieces wobbles a little bit. No matter. Just do higher.

It’s unimaginable that Squid Game has forgiving and even authorized labor practices, so the game designers behind glass hopscotch must get it collectively earlier than somebody at Squid Game, Inc figures out they’re slacking. Simply because they’re the sociopathic minds behind a merciless, playable allegory of the crushing inescapability of capitalism doesn’t suggest they do not depend on that paycheck too.

Squid Game is streaming on Netflix.

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