If you haven’t heard the words “Squid Game” within the last month, you’ve likely been living under a rock. The dystopian Korean drama has taken over nearly every corner of the internet reaching 111 million viewers worldwide and has recently knocked Bridgerton off the top spot as Netflix’s most successful series.

Image credit: Netflix

The series’s success has left many fans questioning whether they could survive the game or not, with many sharing their theories to beat the round on social media. One game, in particular, is the penultimate ‘Glass Stepping Stones’ round featured in episode 7, which caused interest in searches for ‘tempered glass’ to increase by 200%.¹

Should you ever find yourself in a real-life Squid Game, Huddersfield-based glass manufacturer Specialist Glass Products has shared their expertise to help you identify the difference between regular and tempered glass (also known as toughened or strengthened). 

The game starts with the remaining contestants selecting a numbered (1-16) apron before being led out to a suspended platform several hundred feet in the air. They stand in number order before a bridge made of glass panels, some ordinary and the others tempered. The players are then tasked with making their way safely across the bridge, choosing from the left or right panel at each step—however, anyone who has seen the show know that the games are not that simple.

Squid Game Glass Bridge
Image credit: Netflix

During the round, we see that most contestants make their choices based on luck, which leads to most of them falling to a rather gruesome death leaving only three players left standing. Obviously, choosing a higher number would allow you to be one of the last contestants to cross the bridge and give you a higher chance of survival, but how could you beat the game using the skill? 

One of the most obvious ways to tell the difference between the ordinary and tempered panels would be from sight. Within the episode, one of the final characters reveals that they were a glass manufacturer for 30 years and can tell the difference, saying, “If you look at the tempered glass from an angle under the light, you can see faint stain marks.”

Andrew Taylor, Managing Director of Specialist Glass Products reveals, “I’m not aware of any stains in tempered glass unless it hasn’t been cleaned properly! However, in certain polarised lighting, you may find Anisotropy, a leopard spot like effect you may have seen on a car window when wearing sunglasses.”

“Most tempered glass will have a slight variation due to the additional manufacturing processes to strengthen it. This effect is called Anisotropy, caused by the introduction of stress and tension to the glass. Although it may be tricky to see in natural light, these stains are noticeable under bright and polarised light.”

Besides the appearance of light through the glass, the panel surfaces would also be a helpful indicator. Andrew commented, “Non-tempered glass is always perfectly flat. Sometimes with tempered glass, you may get a slight roller wave which would show in certain lighting at certain angles.” 

Although you are unlikely to have a spirit level on hand within the game, you may be able to see a slight difference at a certain angle and distance from the glass.

When light is removed from the situation, the remaining contestants use a marble to throw at the panel, stating, “Another hint is the sound. Tempered glass is made at high temperatures, above 700 degrees. If you tap it with a hammer, it rings clearer than normal glass.”

Although this theory seems plausible, Andrew advised this is not something he is aware of, adding “tapping glass you’re standing on with a hammer to see if its tempered is probably not advisable.”

To find out more about tempered glass, please visit: https://www.specialistglass.co.uk/squid-game-tempered-glass-vs-ordinary/ 

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