I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. Cooking Mama is one of my favourite series (for a game to muck around and not be too serious), so I was super excited when Cooking Mama: Cookstar was announced for Nintendo Switch and then released a week or so ago.
I thought it was odd when the game’s release was coming up and I couldn’t find out who the local distributor was and even the developer was tough to track down, and it turns out my suspicions were correct.
The game released in local retail stores last Monday and onto the Nintendo eShop, but it only lasted on the Nintendo Switch eShop for a few hours before it was pulled. Local retailers in Australia still show some stock (across EB Games, JB Hi-Fi and Big W) and these copies don’t appear to have been pulled (although this could change today).
It’s now been discovered in the game’s press release announcement (that we covered here) that one of its main features was the games ability to mine cryptocurrency. There’s no evidence of this actually happening, but the games press release literally calls this out, which is incredibly odd.
Key blockchain components for “Cooking Mama: Coming Home to Mama” include:
Unique Blockchain Private-Keys – Each purchased copy of the game will have unique IDs which will be managed directly through the game’s internal wallet storage. Players will be able to focus on Cooking Mama’s user experience rather than cryptographic key management.
Private-Key Enabled Balanced DRM – Traditional DRM limits the ability to copy games, while private-keys on blockchain protocols allows easy registration. These combined items provide greater proof of ownership to legitimate owners of a game, while also allowing them to resell games both digitally and in traditional retail outlets.
Enhanced Multiplayer Experience with Dual Expression – This feature, when enabled, makes every copy of a game subtly different and personal to a user. It utilizes the private-key to change expression algorithms for characters, ingredients and cooking methods.
Securing Online Events – For promotional events, player records and participation can be tracked while maintaining privacy. In addition, hashes of the running game can be recorded to ensure the game has not been altered to create an unfair advantage.
Digital Assets, Rewards, Recognition – Users will be rewarded with in-game currency (or points, experience, and other items) or earn recognition and certificates. These could be provided by the game, other players, or third parties that host tournaments or other promotions.
The mystery remains, who developed this game (and for what reason) and why has it been pulled from existence. We’ve confirmed with one of our writers as well as others that picked up the game that the game runs perfectly. There’s no glitches, the game is definitely a Cooking Mama game and there’s no visible reason for it to be pulled off the Nintendo Switch eShop.
“As the developers we can say with certainty there is no cryptocurrency or data collection or blockchain or anything else shady in the code. The Nintendo Switch is a very safe platform, with none of the data and privacy issues associated with some mobile and PC games.”
This is certainly an odd one, and we’ll keep you posted if we hear anything else.