Millions of people play online versions of Spongebob games, called flash games. Hundreds of money-strapped contestants each accept an invite to compete in kids’ games for an attractive prize, but usually the stakes are lethal. A child playing a game that starts with a smile has just as much chance of winning as a player who enters an aggressive scene. One reason why flash games are so addictive is that they are fun, fast, and realistic. Even the most sophisticated graphics and sounds can’t compete with the fun and laughter of kids.
One of the latest installments in the Squid Games franchise is Household Debt, which lets players take on the role of Kim Jong Il, a young North Korean leader, and try to rid his country of debt. As inflation eats away at the North Korean economy, the leadership must find a way to get their hands on money to meet their ends. In an attempt to manage their currency better, they turn to a mysterious advisor with mysterious connections. This leads them on a treasure hunt that also takes them through a jungle environment. The goal of the game is not to win, but to complete the various stages within the time limit.
The second Squid Games offering in the “season two” series, GI-hun, looks at a different kind of competition. In the first episode, a boy band called the Rookies arrives on a mission to win the top prize in the world fair. The show’s premise – and the competition involved – could have been ripped from any number of American Idol shows. Players must select their own music group, and then compete in music competitions, while battling it out for the top prize. The real trick is that this isn’t your typical music-video contest you see on television, where a song is simply chosen by whichever artist comes across the most viewers.
Instead, the music group has to engage in a “red light” battle in order to cross the line, and then earn a point when they successfully go through the red light area. If they fail, they must return to the starting point, and the new light will be red. While the initial execution of the game may seem a little simplistic, it makes for some very entertaining moments as the players work to figure out how to use all of the available tools in the given timeframe. In particular, the excellent visuals that accompany the sung-woo gi-hun strategy can provide a nice change of pace for players who feel overwhelmed by the actual song selection process.
Of course, GI-hun isn’t the only Squid Games offering this season. The first half of the season two includes four other competitive songs and one collaboration between a popular South Korean girl group (the Lee Soon-yeon Band) and a Chinese opera. While it isn’t exactly a singing competition, the musical scale of the ensemble’s performance does allow for some nice vocal impressionist opportunities. In particular, the searing instrumental “Gi-jung-do” lends itself perfectly to a number of vocal gymnastics including the famous “salute” routine, and some of the more difficult versions of the song are even recommended for beginners, as they help build proficiency in breathing techniques.
For those interested in competitive GI-hun action, player 212’s brilliant strategy of selecting four starting songs from the same genre, then focusing on each of them over the course of a single game is a great way to keep the action fresh. For those who enjoy watching professional gamers compete, this is also an interesting look at just how they do their thing in the face of adversity. There is no doubt that we will continue to see the emergence of a number of interesting games that take advantage of the benefits offered by Squid Games to encourage online engagement with a wide variety of players.