In brief:

  • ‘Cooking Mama: Cookstar’ was accused of being a malicious cryptominer after the game was pulled.
  • A press release describes it as having a blockchain-based copyright system.
  • Twitter sleuths debunk all claims, asserting that the game was pulled due to copyright violation.

After an innocuous cooking game was mysteriously pulled by Nintendo last month, concerns arose that it might have been a covert Bitcoin mining scam. Further, the app was slated to adopt blockchain technology.

But experts say that neither of these were true and had nothing to do with the game's removal. Here's all we know about the strange saga of Cooking Mama: Cookstar.

Released on March 26, the Switch game was on the Nintendo eShop for only a few hours before being taken down. Rumors quickly sprouted. One particular accusation was that the game was harnessing Nintendo Switch devices to mine Bitcoin. The circulating tweet explains that the game causes the Switch to overheat and the battery to fail.

“This is URGENT apparently if you own Cooking Mama Cooksta uninstall that immediately, it’s using your system to mine cryptocurrency,” reads the tweet.   

The game's developers, 1st Playable, quickly refuted the claims.

"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," said 1st Playable in a statement.

A few months prior to release, the publisher of the game, Planet Digital Partners, revealed that Cooking Mama would be incorporating blockchain tech. According to GameRant, each copy would hold a unique ID supporting improved Digital rights management (DRM)—a popular copyright system for games. It was this addition that apparently ignited the crypto mining accusation.

Cooking Mama is a Nintendo Switch game. Image: Cooking Mama.

Nevertheless, claims of failing batteries and overheating seem mostly unsubstantiated, although one Twitter user suggested that it could have resulted from the “sloppy removal” of the blockchain DRM system.

However, per the developers, no blockchain integration was attempted at all—and if it was, they weren’t aware of it.

“Blockchain was never brought up to us developers, and we were entertained to hear about in late 2019. Not happening anytime soon," they said. 

Looking to debunk the speculation, one reverse engineer delved into the game, finding no evidence of malicious code.

“After some RE work, I can safely say there is no cryptominer/blockchain stuff anywhere within Cooking Mama: Cookstar's code” he said. 

Per another Twitter Sleuth, the real reason Nintendo pulled the game may have been far less dramatic than first assumed.

“A few of the BGM tracks in Cooking Mama: Cookstar were ripped directly from YouTube,” they wrote.

The Twitterati revealed that several background music tracks within the game were ripped from Youtube—convening copyright law. The game's publishers are yet to confirm. But the game sure managed to cook up a storm.