In computing, a crash, sometimes also referred to as a freeze, happens when a piece of software stops working properly and can not continue running. This is usually because the code has tried to do something impossible, like trying to divide by zero, or read from an invalid memory position. Ideally, most software will be programmed in such a way that the final user can almost never cause the program to do something illegal, but some glitches or exploits can allow the user to do so. The Pikmin series also have a few glitches, exploits, and hacks that allow the player to crash the game.
When a crash happens in a Pikmin game, it stops responding, and the player can do almost nothing except shut down the console and boot it back up. Crashes in Pikmin games are very rare, and the player will likely need to do them on purpose, but a corrupted or damaged game, system, or saved game data can all cause crashes. In this case, they should be replaced or repaired.
Besides crashing, some scenarios can also happen where the player is "softlocked". In these cases, the game continues playing and responding like normal, but it is in a state that does not allow the player to make any progress.
Ways to crash
The following are ways to make the games crash without using any hacks.
If the player's saved game data is corrupted, and the game attempts to repair it, the player can end up with save data that does not make any sense, and leaves the game in a state where many things can cause it to crash. An example would be to play on a day past day 30, and waiting for the day to end.
The following is a collection of known crashes in Pikmin 2. For the ones where the crash handler can be summoned, the crash reason and the developer information are also included.
Ways to softlock
Although not proper crashes, some glitches, exploits, or hacks could make the game be responsive and keep playing, but make the player unable to make any progress, and essentially, get stuck. The solution in these cases is usually to reset the console or shut the game down and turn it back on.
Although not exactly a softlock, it is also possible for some ship parts to disappear forever, and make the game impossible to complete, unless the player restarts the story. The Libra is the most famous example of this. In addition, the player can also fail to recover enough ship parts in time, and find themselves in a situation where it is impossible to get at least the mandatory 25 parts before day 30, making it impossible to beat the game on that saved game file.
There is also a minor softlock, the spray nectar softlock, but this can be solved by having an enemy attack the leaders, or by having the day end, either with the natural time progression, or by using the pause menu.
In Pikmin 2 for the GameCube, if the game crashes, the player might be able to input a development button combination in order to get a crash handler screen to pop up. The code should be pressed one button at a time, and with ample time between each button press:
This was used by the developers to help figure out what went wrong when the game crashed during development. Because the core game itself is frozen, the handler writes the debugging data directly onto the framebuffer, and as a result, is a bit choppy and slow. When the crash handler is opened, it begins by scrolling down the entire report, line by line, and the user can only control it after it reaches the end. and scroll the report up and down, while goes to the start and goes to the bottom.
The first few lines contain the most important information about the crash. Some crashes cause a general exception to be raised within the code, and the exception is specified in the crash handler. Other times, the developers foresaw that certain logic could run incorrectly, and added some assertions to better help them understand what went wrong, in the times where that did happen. In these cases, "user halt" is given as the crash reason, and some custom information written down by the developers is included at the top of the entire report.
The rest of the report is filled with miscellaneous memory locations and their state when the crash happened. Because the code map file in the game's data has been overwritten with garbage in the final release, the handler will be unable to decode some of the addresses in the report and will often simply show "no information".
The Interactive Multi Game Demo Disc Version 17 has a Pikmin 2 demo with an intact code map file. This means that if the player crashes the game there, the crash handler will be able to accurately show what points of the code the game was running when the crash happened. Because of the state of the system and how large the map file is, converting the memory locations can take several seconds.