MrBeast‘s recreation of Netflix‘s Squid Game is a massive hit, but not everyone is loving this viral sensation.
MrBeast (also known as Jimmy Donaldson) is an American content creator best known for his expensive stunts and philanthropy.
Back in October, MrBeast announced that he would be recreating all the sets and games from Squid Games for a YouTube video. 456 contestants would compete for a grand prize of $456,000 USD.
The biggest difference between “MrBeast Game” and Squid Game was, of course, the stakes. MrBeast’s tournament was death-free and just for fun.
Squid Game? Not so much. In Squid Game, the desperate players are willing to risk their lives to win cash, choosing death over a life of poverty. The show has earned praise for its biting commentary on class divides and capitalism in today’s world.
Since its premiere on November 24th, MrBeast’s video has racked up over 124 million views, approximately 13 million more than the original show earned in its first 30 days. Given its massive popularity, MrBeast Game is receiving both praise and criticism.
VICE, in particular, has pointed out the irony of a YouTuber capitalizing on a show that has a strong anti-capitalist message.
As a piece of media, it’s perverse. This doesn’t just badly misunderstand the anti-capitalist message of Squid Game, it’s a literal recreation of the villain’s ultimate desire to watch desperate people compete for money purely for his amusement.
VICE has also called MrBeast Game out on a creative level, calling his video a “ripoff.” VICE claims that original content tends to be overshadowed by fan content on YouTube.
More than just bizarre, Mr. Beast’s Squid Game highlights a fundamental problem of YouTube. There is no shortage of people who make original art and put it online, but the internet is dominated instead by people who can take advantage of existing properties and fan bases.
Another heated debate stems from online creators vs traditional media, specifically in regards to gatekeeping. Jon Youshaei, a contributor for Forbes and TIME, came under fire for this now-deleted tweet wherein he compares the success of MrBeast’s recreation to the original show.
As some fans have pointed out, however, comparing MrBeast Game and Squid Game is like comparing apples and oranges. One is a plotless, philanthropic fan event, comparable to a game show, that would not exist without Squid Game. The other is a standalone television series with an intricate story.
In point of fact, @MrBeast's video took ten years and seven days to make, at a cost of the budget for the Netflix show plus his own, requiring the combined labor of the entire cast and crew of the show plus everybody who worked on his video.
— Alexandra Erin, PhD, MD, EdD, JD (from UATX) (@AlexandraErin) November 29, 2021
Plus: Even if he would’ve had the idea, this video would not even remotely have the same reach without riding on Squid Games Hype and popularity.
— SAVERAGE (@tooSAVERAGE) November 29, 2021
Content creators, journalists, and Squid Game fans are all voicing opinions on the matter, but news YouTuber Philip DeFranco might have summed it up best. “Both of these things can be awesome,” he said while commenting on the controversy. “Not everything has to be a constantly changing of who’s who and the us versus them.”
Watch MrBeast Game here: