YouTuber James Steven “MrBeast” Donaldson’s Squid Game recreation is so popular on the video-sharing platform that its view count almost mirrors that of the hit Korean survival drama that inspired it. While it’s easy to get caught up in how accurate the non-lethal set was, it’s even easier to miss some of the shenanigans in the nearly 26-minute long video. One particularly funny moment is in the beginning, where it seems contestants just didn’t know how to play red light, green light.
For the uninitiated—does this common children’s game really need an introduction?—the rules for MrBeast’s contestants were simple. When he shouted “green light,” they had leeway to run as fast as possible toward a red line. When he yelled “red light,” participants had to stop dead in their tracks, regardless of positioning. Contestants had 30 minutes to reach the line, which saw them advance to the next round. Move any time after “red light” had been yelled out and they were eliminated. They also got the axe if they didn’t make it in time.
Now, of course stopping on a dime is difficult to do per Newton’s first law of motion: objects in motion stay in motion unless acted upon by an opposing force. So if you’re running at your max speed on “green light,” then told to halt immediately at “red light,” it’s possible your momentum will still propel you forward, causing you to get eliminated and lose out on the $456,000 cash prize. That makes sense. But there were some participants who could care less, just running through the red light like MrBeast didn’t say anything at all.
I mean, check out the video above and go to the 1:18 mark. MrBeast clearly said “red light” and though everyone else stopped, contestant number 134 kept on shuffling their legs as if moseying through city streets or whatever. Something similar occurs around the 3:08 mark, in which several people—most notably, someone whose number appears to be 023—got in a few steps…on a red light. This was an obvious trick, as MrBeast shouted “red light” while players were already stationary to see who was gullible enough to fall for the scheme. Even still, last I checked, you don’t get to move on the red, folks.
I’m not going to fault the participants for how terribly some of them played. Red light, green light is a hard physics-based game! It doesn’t help that there’s so much adrenaline coursing through the veins while playing that actually hearing and internalizing “red light” or “green light” is a task in and of itself. So I get it: you hear “red light” and move instinctively anyway, the body probably registering it as “green light” before the brain has the chance to process information. But that’s why we practice active listening skills, right?