Squid Game fans play in real-life as show becomes Netflix's biggest ever launch

Squid Game is just the latest Korean export to win the world over, ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward reports

As hit thriller Squid Game takes the top spot as Netflix's biggest show ever, fans around the world have been inspired to take part in real life challenges inspired by the series.

The South Korean show has beaten period drama Bridgerton to achieve the most successful series launch on Netflix, the streaming giant announced.

After binge-watching the nine-part series, fans across the world can't get enough of it and are seeking ways to live out their own Squid Game-inspired fantasies - without the violence.

The dystopian show sees hundreds take part in a competition shrouded in mystery to play lethal children's games for a multi-billion cash prize.

Korean Dalgona candy has seen a comeback after Squid Game's success

Squid Game has quickly rejuvenated the popularity of Korean Dalgona candy in both its country of origin and around the world after one of the challenges featured the sweet treat.

Contestants were given a task which involves perfectly carving out different shapes from the honeycomb candy - or face deadly consequences.

The traditional sugary snacks were popular street food between the 1970s and 1990s.

Now Dalgona shops are once again seeing swathes of visitors following the launch of Squid Game on September 17.

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One Dalgona chef, Ahn Se-hwan, who works at a street-side stall near Hyehwa subway station in the capital Seoul, said more than 300 people a day have been visiting in the last month.

He has been so busy he hasn't been able to take a day off.

Across the pond in Scotland, a Glaswegian cafe has a created a Dalgona-inspired challenge honeycomb pancakes dish.

Diners are challenged to perfectly break the shape on a honeycomb pancake dish with only a knife.

Meanwhile, UAE fans flocked to take part in a real-life version of the show in Abu Dhabi and play games such as the the Dalgona candy challenge, Red Light Green Light, Ddakji and marbles.

Staff even dressed up in the infamous red costumes worn by the games' guards - but unlike the show, the Korean Cultural Center's re-enactment kept participants alive even if they lost.

Even Comic Con attendees are now choosing Squid Game costumes after fans were seen in New York wearing the signature suits with black face masks featuring a white triangle.

Some viewers have even reportedly been sending money to a bank account that features in the final episode of the show, said Squid Game's director and writer.

Hwang Dong-hyuk said the account details on the bank card given to the winner belonged to one of the show's producers, who started receiving deposits from viewers.

He told Korean news site Insight: “To prevent further deposits from happening the production team decided to close the account to avoid potential issues in the future.”

Netflix has also had to edit a phone number out of the show after a woman claimed it was hers and she had been deluged by calls to her mobile phone.

As a major plot point in the South Korean series, indebted contestants are invited to ring the number and to play deadly games for money.

While Thames Valley Police has warned drivers that a sign on the M4 in Berkshire, featuring a square, circle and triangle, are related to a road diversion and not the hit show.

In its first 28 days on Netflix, Squid Game was watched by 111 million users, the streaming company said.

That makes it Netflix’s most popular series launch ever, beating Bridgerton, which was watched by 82 million households in its first month.

It is Netflix’s first Korean programme to become the most popular series in the US and follows from the company’s efforts to increase its offering of international shows.

The streamer has 209 million subscribers around the world.

Minyoung Kim, Netflix’s vice president of content for Korea, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, told CNN: “When we first started investing in Korean series and films in 2015, we knew we wanted to make world-class stories for the core K-content fans across Asia and the world.

“Today, Squid Game has broken through beyond our wildest dreams.”