Even the most dedicated follower of Japanese video games could be forgiven for not having heard of Cookie’s Bustle, a Windows / Mac title from 1999.
Developed and published by the little-known Japanese company Rodik, Cookie’s Bustle places you in the role of a 5-year-old girl who thinks she's a teddy bear. This is how she appears in the game itself, which is best described as a dark comedy with multiple endings, 200 NPCs and wildly random events, which make it feel a little like a fever dream at points.
It is, according to Hardcore Gaming 101, "shockingly difficult" and is likened to "a point-and-click adventure game, but the puzzles are just as obtuse and vague as any of Sierra’s classic titles."
Even in Japan, Cookie’s Bustle would be considered pretty obscure – which makes the recent drive to remove every trace of it from the internet all the more bizarre.
Keisuke Harigai is listed as the creator of the game on the front cover of the original box, and a trademark for Cookie's Bustle was filed in the UK under that name in May 2022:
Why would someone want to remove all traces of such an unknown game from the internet? Has the IP for the game been purchased, with the view to republishing the game on modern systems? Or is somebody really keen to use the name 'Cookie’s Bustle' in a new context?
Or, perhaps, someone hated the game so much due to its intense difficulty and obtuse puzzles that they simply want to remove it from existence?
Your guess is as good as ours at the moment, but if we hear more, we'll update this story.