The Bizarre Allegations And Confusing Disappearance Of Cooking Mama: Cookstar

The Bizarre Allegations And Confusing Disappearance Of Cooking Mama: Cookstar
Credit: Dante Nintendo Switch World via YouTube

If you’re unsure of what the franchise Cooking Mama is, you’re not alone; the series isn’t necessarily known for blazing new trails or doing much that’s noteworthy. The series has you playing as a woman that is, as the title is inferring, a mother. Using mediocre controls and ideas, you control the titular character to make various meals. The cooking isn’t necessarily done that well, the art and animations are serviceable, and the franchise has been around since the Nintendo DS days. It’s notable, perhaps, for precisely how unnotable it is; just a franchise that has continued to chug out iterations that fans appreciate.

It released March 31, 2020, and then suddenly disappeared a few hours later. Now, it’s rather difficult to find; it isn’t even listed on Nintendo’s comprehensive website that lists all available games for various Nintendo consoles; it was there on launch, and deleted later that day.

Now if you want to purchase the title, you’ll need to do so directly from the developers’ website, a hastily concocted Shopify template that has a little data about what the game is offering. The website was offering the title above MSRP reported by Nintendo originally, at $60; it’s now selling for $40, and 1st Playable Productions (the developers) have announced that they’re refunding the difference.

The mystery is precisely what happened to the title that had it suddenly removed from all official Nintendo mentions.

Shortly before its release, a 4Chan thread appeared with interesting allegations; that 1st Playable has included a cryptocurrency miner in Cooking Mama: Cookstar that would use the console to mine Bitcoin for the studio. 1st Playable vehemently denied the accusations that stemmed from a press release from Planet Digital Partners, which seems to state precisely what 4Chan has claimed; using blockchain technology, Cooking Mama: Cookstar will ‘democratize game funding for investors’ and ‘give investors an opportunity to make handsome returns’.

Along with unique Blockchain private keys, which ensured that plays could focus on Cooking Mama instead of ‘cryptographic key management’. 1st Playable denied the accusations that its publisher made, saying that is was primarily ‘marketing speak’ with buzzwords; a large leap from the statement that the publishers made in their press release, which has since been taken down from Planet Digital’s website.

Dataminers have stated that it appears that the cryptocurrency mining segment of the code appears to have been removed from the title which is now difficult to find, although the title drains battery far quicker than other titles on the Nintendo Switch.

There is also speculation that the title was pulled due to ripping music directly from YouTube videos and using that as background music (BGM) in Cooking Mama: Cookstar.

Regardless as whatever the official reason is from Nintendo, everyone is staying mum on precisely what is occurring: Planet Entertainment (publishers) states on Cooking Mama’s official Twitter account that they’re working on getting the title on the Nintendo Eshop, and implies that the delays are due to COVID-19.

In a separate statement, they’ve stated that the delays are due to confusion about precisely who owns the IP, and ongoing legal battles. This is sourced from ScreenRant who had an interview with a developer from 1st Playable, which stated ‘the game has been withdrawn from sale (due to) a tussle between the publisher and IP holder.

It’s a bit amusing that a title as simple as the Cooking Mama franchise is so mired in a tangled mess that could make for an interesting legal thriller, or journalistic Lifetime movie made for TV. 1st Playable is likely also going to be long-term financial consequences for the studio which is desperately attempting to sell Nintendo Switch cartridges for Cooking Mama: Cookstar on their website.