US YouTuber gives out real cash prizes in viral take on Squid Game

LOS ANGELES • Top American YouTuber MrBeast has come up with a real-life version of Squid Game, with a cash prize of US$456,000 (S$623,000) for the winner.

Since the video was uploaded last Friday, the 25-minute video has garnered more than 133 million views in a week.

The hit Netflix drama - about a group of desperados playing deadly childhood games to win 45.6 billion won (S$52.9 million) - had 111 million views in less than a month, making it the most popular show on the streaming platform.

The video's meticulously re-created games - minus the violence and death - took place on sets which faithfully copied those from the K-drama.

These included a giant doll, bunk beds, a giant piggy bank of cash and even a "glass" bridge suspended high up in the air.

Known for expensive stunts and generous cash prizes, MrBeast - whose real name is James Donaldson - revealed on Twitter that re-creating the show cost US$2 million, while the prizes totalled US$1.5 million.

A total of 456 players in green tracksuits took part, just as in the show. Unlike in the show, however, some of those who did not make it to the final round still took home cash prizes ranging from US$2,000 to US$10,000.

The video is on track to become the 23-year-old YouTube star's most popular one since he began posting videos in 2012, but the viral hit has drawn mixed reactions from fans of both Squid Game and MrBeast.

While most commenters on YouTube praised the attention to detail and generosity of the game, others pointed out that the real-life game seems to have missed the anti-capitalism message of the show.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2021, with the headline US YouTuber gives out real cash prizes in viral take on Squid Game. Subscribe