Video Game Recipe Appears in Serious Literary Novel

If high school English teachers are to be believed the worst thing one can do in formal writing is use a contraction, but the second worst thing one can do is to use Wikipedia as a source. It is, however, an often neglected fact that just because something is not Wikipedia does not mean that it is appropriate for your writing.

Take, for example, tech blog Polygon. While the tessellated reviewer is great for news and reviews from the gaming world it does not provide details relevant to serious modern literature. Unfortunately for serious modern literature, however, Polygon also has amazing search engine optimization and renowned Irish novelist John Boyne did not take the time to read the context of his Google search when researching the red dye recipe employed in his latest novel.

Thus, one of his very serious, realistic characters came to mix together “spicy pepper, the tail of the red lizalfos, and four Hylian shrooms.” In another passage, she mentioned that general dye making ingredients include “sapphire, keese wing, the leaves of the Silent Princess plant, Octorok eyeball… and hightail lizard.”Needless to say none of these ingredients are real, but rather have their roots in Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Internet users quickly picked up on the error and started making fun of Boyne, who has goodnaturedly accepted responsibility and decided to leave the passage as is.

Yeah, I’ll leave it as it is. I actually think it’s quite funny and you’re totally right. I don’t remember but I must have just googled it. Hey, sometimes you just gotta throw your hands up and say “yup! My bad!”

— John Boyne (@john_boyne) August 3, 2020

Let this be a cautionary tale: it is not enough to see that a source has a professionally maintained website and assume reliability. Context is important and reliable information about video games is not necessarily reliable information for use in your next English paper.



Former Editor in Chief of The City Voice, finally graduated City High Middle School as part of the Class of 2022.