Unless another show rallies shockingly hard in the fourth quarter, Squid Game is the megahit that will define 2021 in popular culture. The Korean Netflix drama portrays the poor and downtrodden of a contemporary to near-future society, conscripted as participants in a reality show where they must compete in lethal variants of children’s games, with the last person standing winning a multi-million dollar cash prize. So, what do I win for being the last person who hasn’t watched it?

If nothing else, I have a unique, perhaps even privileged position as a Squid Game holdout. The cultural wake of this show has produced knock-offs, riffs, parodies, and scams in every sector. Weird pink guard costumes at Spirit Halloween, online cultural criticism, and Google Play Store DMCA-bait shovelware have all contributed to the cacophony of discourse surrounding this show. I’m here with a fresh perspective and cold, clinical gaze to sample some of that noise and report to you on Squid Game’s effect on PC gaming. Here’s what I’ve found.

Crab Game

 Get used to this view. (Image credit: Dani)

To even begin to tackle the enigma that is Crab Game, available on Steam for free as of October 29, you have to start with its creator, Dani. I had never heard of Dani before, but his YouTube subscriber count is north of the population of Chicago, and his most-watched videos reach 15 million views. He has a catalogue of humor-oriented, physics-based projects developed on the Unity engine, including a parody game called “3D Among Us.” I did not go into Crab Game with the highest expectations, but found myself very pleasantly surprised.  

A victory I was never meant to taste. (Image credit: Dani)

Aside from cribbing Squid Game’s iconic, lethal rendition of ‘red light, green light,’ most of the minigames are decidedly non-canon, including ‘king of the hill,’ ‘hot potato,’ and territory control modes cycled through at random until a single victor remains, at which point the next match can begin. 

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