Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Squid Game: the Challenge: why viewers are obsessed over Player 299

The new reality show has had fans talking - find out more about player Spencer Hawkins

Squid Game the Challenge: Player 299
Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
Share this:

Squid Game: The Challenge has certainly been making the rounds, with people on social media - and even the cast of Gogglebox - sharing their opinions on the reality show version of the hit Korean drama. However, there is one scene - and one player - in particular, that fans have been quick to discuss. Find out more about why viewers are discussing Player 299 but warning, spoilers ahead… 

In the second main challenge on the show, Spencer Hawkins AKA Player 299 took centre stage after opting to select the 'umbrella' symbol for his team in the honeycomb game. For those who haven’t seen Squid Game, players must carve a shape out of a piece of honeycomb, with the umbrella being the most difficult option to pick. 

WATCH: Squid Game: The Challenge trailer looks seriously intense

Since two lots of players had been eliminated after being unable to come to a decision about who has the umbrella, Spencer was in the third round of players to decide and was persuaded to select to umbrella - much to the frustration of his team.

Squid Games: The Challenge episode 2
Squid Games: The Challenge episode 2

The guilt at making the decision led to Spencer dry heaving during the challenge, and fans were quick to take to X, formerly known as Twitter, to discuss, One person wrote: "I actually feel so bad for 299- someone was gonna have to get umbrella! bless him frfr," while another person added: "I feel so bad for this 299. this is very depressing. I hope this experience won't hunt him even after the game #SquidGame." 

During his interview on the show, Spencer revealed that he was incredibly shy growing up, and can be very naive and will believe anything you tell him. He opened up about deciding to take part in the show to Entertainment Weekly, explaining: "The biggest reason I signed up for the show was a few years ago I recovered from cancer, and with that I became much more intentional about the things I wanted in my life, meaning deep human connections and unique experiences. This show provided me with the opportunity to be able to meet new people and to be able to hopefully win money to be able to take care of the people I care about." 

Player 299 in Squid Game: the Challenge
Player 299 in Squid Game: the Challenge

Speaking about the honeycomb challenge, he explained: "It was a demanding day. After the decision being made for which cookie shape we each get, it took a few hours for different groups to be able to compete, and so I had to be separated from my line for a time before I was even able to come back to them. 

Team HELLO!'s top Netflix recommendations

Simone Ashley reprises her role as Kate Sharma© Netflix
Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in Bridgerton
  • Stranger Things
  • Bodies
  • The Crown
  • Bridgerton 
  • Queen Charlotte
  • Selling Sunset
  • Squid Game 
  • Sex Education 
  • Firefly Lane 
  • Blue Eye Samurai
  • Virgin River
  • Sweet Magnolias 

"In that time I was trying to get into the mental headspace to be able to prepare for the game, drinking lots of water while trying to save up spit in my mouth, so I was getting physically exhausted while also feeling all the emotions of everything. And then finally, it’s time to come into the room, and there’s not much energy left." 

He began to feel sick after seeing his teammates’ reactions when they took part in the umbrella challenge, saying: "Difficulty for myself, that’s one thing I can handle. But when you’re talking about difficulty for others, that’s my responsibility. That’s a weight that doesn’t really go away. It was like seeing friends who are hurting because that’s how I ultimately viewed everyone else there, as a friend. I did feel physically sick." 

More TV and Film

See more