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The Strange Saga Of Cooking Mama Cookstar

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Cooking Mama Cookstar, the latest installment of a game series stretching back to the Wii / DS era, might have quietly seen release on Switch last week and barely gotten any attention outside of its hardcore fanbase. But then…it vanished.

On March 31, the game was released to the Nintendo eShop. Hours later, it was no longer there. Cooking Mama Cookstar briefly existed, but disappeared in a matter of hours, and there is now no mention of it on the eShop, or the sites of its developer or publisher. It wasn’t an accidental release. March 31, 2020 was always the date. It’s just….gone now.

One would argue this is yet another reason why physical copies of games are so important. I’d agree, because physical copies of Cooking Mama Cookstar actually got out there. Target stores across the nation stocked a handful this week, and the few willing to mask up and brave the plague-cursed landscape showed off their trophies on Reddit. This is likely the only shipment that will ever be (for reasons that will be explained in a minute), and the physical copy is destined to become one of the most valuable Switch collector’s items.

However…..the few who were able to pick up the game, both physically and digitally, started reporting that their Switches got hot from running it, and it drained their battery quickly. That’s when someone noticed the original press release from 2019 mentioned “integration of blockchain,” and the rumor started spreading that Cooking Mama Cookstar was recalled because it was actually a cryptocurrency mining scheme.

Everything seemed to point to it at first, but the rumor ultimately proved false. Twitter user SimonTime did some reverse-engineering work on the code and could find no evidence of datamining. The issue was settled when Screenrant finally got into contact with someone who worked on the game. The anonymous worker said “the statement about crypto-currency was all buzz words. The [CEO] knows very little about these things…he just put some fancy language to get potential investors who like that stuff.”

As for the overheating….that’s just bad programming. “That would be because the game is made in Unity, by many people working on their first game…it’s not the best product but it made it through several vigorous reviews by Nintendo and Sony. There is no way crypto-mining stuff could get through those tests. I doubt anyone at 1p would even be able to make such a thing.”

And the game’s disappearance? The result of a legal battle between the developer and publisher. “At one point the Japanese official create clients came to oversee development. An argument started and the clients were told to go home if they weren’t being ‘constuctive.’ Once they found out that Planet Entertainment released the game, they used their Nintendo contacts to pull it from the e-shop and stop production of cartridges.”

And so the mystery has been finally solved. Cooking Mama Cookstar isn’t a cryptocurrency scheme. It’s simply a bad game that wasn’t coded very well and half the involved parties wish did not exist. It’s also going to be worth a billion bucks. Go figure.