“It’s still good it’s still good!’
Ever since the “Wiiwaa” concept (marrying a plush toy and a mascot-based Wii game) debuted, my wife and I have been waiting for it to someday become a reality. We even waited past the nebulous announcement and the complete lack of news surrounding it. And we’re waiting to this day for this thing to still come out: even if there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening.
Although there’s been bits and bobs of news surrounding, famed game researcher Liam Robertson has provided what can be considered the definitive word: even speaking to the development team to get an update. It’s dead, Jim. And the thing that ultimately helped killed it, after it clawed its way up out of hell multiple times (including a name change to WeeWaa)? Cooking Mama.
The “Wiiwaa” title isn’t doing it any favors in terms of offering up a historical record (most searches are dominated by WiiWare), but back in the late 2000s, the Sweden-based Zoink (who would eventually merge with Image & Form to become the super-group-developer Thunderful) announced that they were working on a game that let players stuff a Wiimote into a plush toy’s mouth, and control the game via the controller’s accelerometer. I was immediately taken in by it, as there was virtually nothing like it, and the ridiculously cute video of a young boy flailing a plush figure around was amazing.
Soon after, Zoink ran into a number of issues with the project (like immediately remaking the announcement video so that the Wiimote was inserted into the mouth, as the original showcased the controller going into the toy’s butt). Numerous conversations to secure funding and meetings with Nintendo were stalled — but even after all that, the creators were still keen to bring it to market. The kiss of death was a similar Cooking Mama release called “Babysitting Mama,” which also came with a plush doll that you’d insert a Wiimote into. That, combined with the decline of Wii software sales, led to an untimely end for the core game.
The IP ended up living on (albeit for a short while, thanks to the wonderful world of mobile development pushing out non-compliant games with OS updates) in the form of WeeWaa: Rock On on mobile devices, which reconfigured the concept into a mobile on-rails game with cosmetics. But since then, it’s been dormant. It’s a fascinating story worth roughly 20 minutes of your time, and you can watch it all below.
Now that Thunderful has more money behind it, and with Nintendo seemingly easier to reach in the Nintendo Switch era: I say give it another go! Make it compatible with the Switch Joy-Con and let it rip. Until then, I’ll settle for buying one of the original prototypes that can fit a Wiimote into its mouth (seriously, if anyone has one of these, reach out!).