‘The 8 Show’ Game Rules And Symbolism, Explained


The 8 Show made us privy to a bizarre game that played with the mental stability of the guys and made sure that they repented the decision to come there in the first place. So let’s find out what the rules of the game were that the participants got to know once they entered the gaming arena, and if the makers wanted to symbolize certain aspects of our society through it.

Spoiler Alert

The Game Rules 

As soon as the first-floor guy picked up his card and entered the game arena, he started understanding the rules of the place that all the participants had to abide by. Firstly, he had to change his clothes and wear the uniform, which had his floor number written on the backside. He saw that there was a digital board that displayed the amount of money he had won. At that juncture, he didn’t know how the money increased or what kind of things they would have to do to win the game. One thing that became clear straight away was that if one had to buy things inside the facility, then they would have to spend much more than the market value of the product. So, for example, if one had to get a blanket or buy any other necessity, they would have to purchase it through millions of dollars, which would reduce their overall earnings.

Another thing that the guy on floor 7 figured out was that the participants could buy things from outside the room in the general area as well. If one bought a product from the general area, they didn’t have to pay for it with money, but the overall time for which they had to stay in the facility got reduced. Time was directly proportional to the money earned by the participant; as in, for every minute spent in the facility, the participants got money. The participants got to know that the time increased when theft did something, but they didn’t know what exactly they should do. One of the participants figured out a trick: if someone walked up and down the staircase frequently, the speed of time increased, which was why everyone started using the stairs.

After a point in time, they realized that their speculation was not true and that the increment in time was entirely dependent on something else. The 6th floor guy and the 2nd floor girl got into a fight, and it felt like they would actually kill each other. After the fight went on, something surprising happened. The participants saw that their game time increased exponentially. They realized that there was probably no set rule to increase the time, and the game developers just wanted to get entertained with what they saw. So basically, a conflict, some interesting events, a fight, and other things that kept the audience hooked and engrossed increased the time on the clock. This was a huge revelation of sorts, and it brought about a change in the outlook of all the participants. Also, there was no washroom in the facility because of which the contestants had to find a way to get rid of their waste. The rooms could be changed, but the price of doing so was so high that the participants at the end of The 8 Show realized that it was not possible to do so. The game only ended in case somebody died or the time ran out. However, the game developers were shrewd enough to understand the human psyche, and they knew that at least one of the participants would do something to increase the time and keep the game running. 

Themes And Symbolism 

The makers put forth a lot of symbolism in the game’s pattern. For me personally, the game was the embodiment of the entire concept of capitalism. The rich get richer, and the poor do not have opportunities to bridge the gap. We saw that even the pay per minute of the lower-floor guys was quite low as compared to the higher-floor participants. Every participant at first tried to maintain the ideals of a welfare society, but soon, the powerful realized that they didn’t need to toil hard and that they could make the less privileged ones do all the work. The 8th floor girl could have easily stored the waste packages in her room, but she, together with others, chose to pass them down to the first floor guy, even though his room was very small in area. 

The game was designed in such a manner that one could pretend for a very long time and eventually show their true colors. Desperation and greed also played a key role in the scheme of things, and the game developers probably knew how to use them to their advantage. We saw how, when a person realized that they were powerful and privileged beyond anybody’s reach, they turned dictatorial in their approach. They didn’t care if the other person suffered or was in pain as long as they were able to get what they wanted. The floors, for me, also signified the rigid caste system that has had more disadvantages than benefits. We do not choose in which caste we are born, and then our status is decided on the basis of that, which I feel is very unfair. The participants also chased cards without knowing what the number written on them meant, so it was not their skill that got them more money, but sheer luck. 

I would have liked it a bit more if the makers had taken those symbols somewhere and not left them hanging in the middle. The ending of The 8 Show was not only abstract but a bit dissatisfactory, and I hope that in season 2 (if there is one), the makers clear out certain things and provide some answers. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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