Is Squid Game: The Challenge real?

Cameron Frew
Players in Squid Game: The Challenge on NetflixNetflix

Squid Game: The Challenge has proven to be another hit for Netflix, but is the show real, or are there any scripted moments?

When Squid Game was first released on Netflix, it attracted comparisons to Battle Royale and Takeshi’s Castle – for good reason.

The series revolved around a secret, high-stakes competition in South Korea in which hundreds of everyday people fought literally to the death in children’s games like Red Light Green Light. If they lost, they were killed either by execution or their own failure, like plummeting to their deaths in Hopscotch.

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With The Challenge seeing the return of Squid Game to Netflix, you may be confused about exactly what it is – and more importantly, if it’s real or not.

Is Squid Game: The Challenge real?

Yes, Squid Game: The Challenge is totally real – but unlike the original series, its contestants aren’t killed if they’re eliminated from the contest.

Following in the footsteps of MrBeast’s big-budget YouTube version, Netflix has turned its biggest hit into a reality show with the largest cash prize in television history. Its contestants come from all walks of life across the world, competing in classic challenges (like carving out shapes in a Dalgona biscuit) as well as facing unique obstacles.

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The producers found an amusing way to ‘execute’ contestants who don’t make it to the end: instead of being shot, a small squib with black ink (like a squid’s) bursts from their t-shirt.

That’s not to say the players didn’t endure any pain during the making of the series. The production was hit with several accusations of “inhumane conditions” and medics being called several times, which forced Netflix and its producers to speak out. “We care deeply about the health of our cast and crew, and the quality of this show. Any suggestion that the competition is rigged or claims of serious harm to players are simply untrue,” they said.

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“We’ve taken all the appropriate safety precautions, including aftercare for contestants – and an independent adjudicator is overseeing each game to ensure it’s fair to everyone.”

One of the contestants, Lorenzo Nobilio, told BBC News that their experience on the show “felt like it was real… it didn’t feel like you were in a fictional place.”

Squid Game: The Challenge Episodes 1-9 are available to stream on Netflix now. You can check out our other coverage below:

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, Oscars enthusiast, and a staunch Scot. He earned a First-Class Honours Degree in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, accredited by the NCTJ and BJTC. He began his career at UNILAD, starting as a Junior Journalist and becoming Entertainment Editor prior to joining Dexerto. You can contact him at