Why Is Squid Games Banned In North Korea

Squid Games, a popular form of entertainment that features a variety of digital games, has been banned in North Korea for many years. The video game industry remains one of the most restrictive in the world, and this decision by the North Korean government has caused much debate amongst gamers and those who care about media freedom.

In the strict totalitarian regime of North Korea, the government has imposed a ban on all forms of entertainment that don’t comply with their own regulations. These regulations not only include restrictions on media in general, but also on specific types of media such as video games. All video game systems, consoles, and media have been outlawed in the country since 1996, and this has caused many gamers to be stuck in a limbo of outdated technology.

The original ban of Squid Games was put in place by the North Korean Ministry of Culture in 1996. In the regulations, the ministry argued that video games, including those from the Squid Games platform, were a form of degenerate entertainment and posed a risk to North Korean society. In addition to this, the ministry expressed concern about the potential of the games to corrupt the development of the younger generation and detract from study.

Squid Games, which is famous for its addictive, nostalgia-driven games, is particularly popular with the youth and had been played extensively across the country before it was banned. Since then, authorities have started to crack down on any attempt to bypass the ban, including setting up a special police unit to search and seize any illegally imported Squid Games or related materials.

Despite this, there are reports that some North Koreans are still able to access and play the games, either by purchasing illegal copies or finding other forms of access. Given how difficult it is for the North Korean government to monitor and censor all forms of media, some individuals may have found the opportunity to play or even create their own versions of the outlawed games.

The ban has caused adverse reactions from gamers both within and outside of North Korea. International gaming companies, including the developers of Squid Games, have condemned the ban, citing it as a violation of human rights and arguing that games have been wrongly associated in North Korea with degeneracy and immorality.

Other critics have argued that the ban could have a negative impact on North Korea’s economy and culture. According to experts, banning a powerful form of entertainment has the potential to drive away potential foreign investment, stunt growth, and have a wider socio-economic impact on the country.

Cultural Impacts of the Ban

An important factor to consider is how cultural attitudes towards video games in North Korea have changed since its leaders put the ban in place. Among the older generations, video games are still regarded as a dangerous influence, and the ban appears to be largely accepted. However, there is evidence to suggest that among the younger generations, a growing demand for the games still exists.

Indeed, the recent shift towards digital platforms in the games industry has helped to make video games more accessible and affordable. As the younger generations search for a form of entertainment and creative expression, the lure of illegal video games is strong. This has contributed to a rise in the illegal distribution of the games, with piracy and distribution networks proliferating in North Korea.

The ban also serves as a reminder of the limits of freedom of speech and entertainment that the North Korean people are subject to. It highlights a government’s ability to restrict any form of media for any reason, and how this has a direct effect on individuals’ rights and well-being.

There is no doubt that the ban has had a major effect on North Korean culture. The stigma attached to video games, as well as the growing demand for them, means that many people are still able to enjoy them while also feeling they’re engaging in something potentially illegal.

Political Implications of the Ban

The ban on Squid Games has been in place since 1996, and it serves as a reminder of the power that the North Korean government has over its citizens. The government’s decision to outlaw a form of entertainment in this way can be seen as a way of controlling and censoring the population.

The squid games ban also serves as a symbol of North Korean’s isolation from the rest of the world. By refusing to allow its citizens access to the same forms of entertainment that the rest of the world enjoys, North Korea has chosen to effectively declare itself off-limits to the world.

As long as the ban is in place, North Korea remains an anomaly in terms of video game culture, and its citizens are prevented from enjoying the same forms of entertainment that the rest of the world does. This has resulted in an atmosphere of resentment and distrust, with many North Koreans feeling that their government is not doing enough to protect their rights and freedoms.

Furthermore, the squid-ban can be interpreted as a sign that the North Korean government is unwilling to entertain new forms of thought or communication. This can be seen as a way of preserving the current political system and keeping their citizens out of the global conversation.

North Korea and the International Community

The ban on Squid Games has also had far-reaching implications for North Korea’s relationship with the international community. As the country remains isolated, it has become increasingly difficult for it to engage in dialogue with the rest of the world.

Indeed, North Korea’s refusal to allow its citizens access to the same forms of entertainment that the rest of the world enjoys serves as a reminder of the lack of communication between the two sides. By denying its citizens access to a popular form of entertainment, North Korea is sending the message to the world that there is no room for negotiation or compromise.

The ban has also had a negative effect on the international gaming industry, as it has prevented North Koreans from being able to access new games or consoles. This has contributed to the country’s economic isolation, as the North Korean government is not able to benefit from the global gaming market.

Moreover, the ban serves as a reminder of North Korea’s stance on media freedom. While the North Korean government has taken steps to increase access to the internet, it has made it clear that the country is still firmly entrenched in the Cold War mentality, where all forms of expression are tightly regulated.

Societal Impact of the Ban

The ban on Squid Games has had a significant impact on North Korean society. By preventing the younger generations from accessing a particular type of entertainment, the ban has had a major effect on how people consume media.

In addition, the ban on Squid Games is seen by many as a symbol of the government’s attempts to control popular culture and censor any forms of media that it deems unsuitable. This is seen as an infringement of freedom of expression, and it is likely that it has served to further alienate many of the population.

Furthermore, the ban has contributed to a climate of distrust between the younger generations and the government. By stopping access to something that is popular with the youth, the government has inadvertently caused resentment and suspicion.

Finally, the ban has had a negative impact on North Korean culture in general. By preventing North Korean citizens from accessing certain forms of entertainment, the government has deprived them of a form of creative expression that is popular in other parts of the world.


The ban on Squid Games in North Korea can be seen as a symptom of the country’s strict control over its citizens’ access to a particular type of entertainment. The ban has had both cultural and political implications, with the government making it clear that it is unwilling to entertain different forms of thought or communication. The ban has also had an adverse effect on North Korea’s relationship with the international community, as it has indicated that the country is unwilling to enter into dialogue with the rest of the world. Finally, the ban has had a significant impact on North Korean society, contributing to a climate of distrust and alienation between the government and its citizens.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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