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SQUID GAMES❗❗ is a ironic meme format that parodies the viral popularity of the South Korean survival drama series Squid Game. The format usually involves adding the caption "SQUID GAMES❗❗* to scenes of characters dying or lying down after being defeated, similar to IDK Punchlines meme format.
On November 24th, 2021, Instagram news account hoodlum shared an image macro news post about a North Korean resident who was sentenced to death by firing squad for distributing illegal copies of the South Korea survival drama series Squid Game (shown below).
On December 3rd, 2021, Twitter user @yungvirginkike shared a meme presumably referencing the image macro. The image, an Uncle Ben What Happened? meme, is an edit of a popular version of IDK Punchline meme based on a scene from Spider-Man (2002), with the caption again altered to "SQUID GAMES❗❗". The post gained over 2,400 retweets and 24,100 likes in four weeks (shown below).
On December 11th, 2021, Twitter user @feels_td posted the earliest derivative meme based on the format, also an edit of an existing IDK Punchline meme (itself based on Harry Potter What Happened to Him? format). The meme gained over 2,400 retweets and 26,800 likes in three weeks (shown below) and was actively circulated on Instagram.
The format achieved more active spread in late December 2021 after the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home drew public interest towards Spider-Man films and meme formats. On December 19th, 2021, Twitter user @SoraYukihara posted a Deepfake Tobey Maguire / Tell Me The Truth I'm Ready To Hear It meme that gained over 50 retweets and 360 likes in nine days.
On December 24th, 2021, Twitter user @Shehenpashin reposted a voiced version of the original Spider-Man meme, originally posted by TikTok user @breadsphere on December 18th, with the post gaining over over 240,200 views, 5,100 retweets and 25,800 likes in three days (shown below).
SQUID GAMES pic.twitter.com/aNCGOvS2iX
— MAN HUMAN (@Snehenpashin) December 24, 2021
In the following days, multiple viral versions of the meme were posted online, primarily on Twitter, with users adding the caption to famous scenes of popular characters dying or lying down after being defeated.
Uncle Ben What Happened?
Uncle Ben What Happened? refers to a series of memes based on a scene of Uncle Ben's death in the 2002 superhero film Spider-Man. The two-panel format uses fan-written dialogue that does not originally appear in the film, with Peter Parker asking his his uncle about what happened and Uncle Ben describing what had fatally wounded him.
'IDK' Punchlines refers to a series of recaption memes in which the entire punchline has been replaced with the word "IDK" (short for "I don't know"). Spawned by a viral What Happened to Him? meme posted in May 2021, the format was popularized on Twitter in November 2021.