Imagine the world you live in from a different perspective, viewed from close to the ground – what do you think you’d find? The answer might surprise you! Between the flowers, the rocks, the blades of grass exist tiny creatures you might never have imagined…
It’s here, down among the flora, that we find the Pikmin. These strange plant-like creatures may seem tiny and vulnerable, but don’t be fooled! What they lack in stature, they make up in both strength and numbers. A species not to be underestimated indeed!
"A fascinating creature emerged when I plucked the sprout! I tried to put some distance between us, but it followed me close behind. It seems quite friendly and looks similar to a Pikpik Carrot, my favourite vegetable. I’ll call it a ‘Pikmin’." – Captain Olimar
Discovered purely by accident by the famous Captain Olimar – a diligent navigator known throughout the galaxy – Pikmin were once thought to only be native to PNF-404, the planet Olimar crash-landed on. However, they’ve since been found elsewhere and have a strange enjoyment of taking walks for fun!
Starting off as tiny sprouts, Pikmin initially lie dormant in the ground. A quick pull on the stalk though and they emerge, fresh and ready to start their lives. But even at this early stage, Pikmin are incredibly intuitive and know what to do in any situation they're sent into. They can smash walls, carry objects, or even fight nearby creatures without anything but a quick fling to send them on their way.
Note the leafy growth on this Pikmin’s head. Not only does the stem allow someone to pluck Pikmin sprouts from the ground, but it also indicates its growth potential. By sucking up nectar, a Pikmin can go from leaf to bud and then to flower, increasing their speed as they go. Fascinating!
And what of the different types of Pikmin? As well as the common Red, Blue and Yellow Pikmin discovered by Olimar, further exploration has revealed the existence of smaller White, tough Rock, heavy Purple and even pink flying Pikmin. Even more recently, frozen Ice Pikmin have appeared, as well as glowing ones that only come out at night!
"By working together, Pikmin can carry objects much heavier than themselves. And if you increase the number of Pikmin doing the transporting, they will transport objects even faster! Just think how much our kind could learn from this cooperative species.” – Captain Olimar
While each type of Pikmin has its own unique abilities, a trait shared by all Pikmin is an affinity for teamwork. From digging holes and breaking down barriers to carrying precious cargo, watching them work in the wild is quite remarkable. See how the Pikmin overcome adversity through co-operation, the likes of which is rarely replicated in the natural world!
One characteristic that surprises about Pikmin is their sensitivity to sound, since only the Yellow Pikmin appear to have ears! Loud noises like whistle blasts can easily catch their attention, sending any nearby Pikmin running to the source. Studies have shown even rudimentary commands can be issued with such noise, though their affinity to music is…less attuned.
“Sometimes, when they’re in a pleasant mood, the Pikmin will start to sing a little tune. Feeling inspired, I tried to join in…until they went noticeably silent. I suppose my singing doesn’t appeal to their musical tastes.” – Captain Olimar
As night falls across the planet, Pikmin retire to the safety of a dwelling called an Onion. This unique nest keeps Pikmin safe from nocturnal creatures roaming in search of food, and can even move from location to location by itself. Many types of Onion have been discovered over the years, though whether these are simple constructs or full-blown evolutions is yet to be determined.
Ahh yes, the Onions – a home, a means of transportation and also where Pikmin find life! Live Pikmin instinctively carry any organic matter found back to the Onion, at which point it gets absorbed and turned into even more Pikmin. The circle of life never ceases to amaze, even on distant planets…
Of course, the complex eco-system that Pikmin thrive in also makes them prey to certain local wildlife. Dangerous creatures – from the humble Bulborb and leaping Wollyhop to Burrowing Snagrets and even the mighty Sandbelching Meerslug – think nothing of swallowing Pikmin whole as a snack. Even intrepid explorers need to take care not to eat one themselves!
"I was so hungry earlier that I mistook a Pikmin for a Pikpik Carrot and almost bit right into it! The Pikmin are friendly to me right now, but who knows how long our relationship will last? I quickly apologised to the terrified Pikmin and gave it a hug.” – Captain Olimar
Strong, dependable, loyal – these are just some of the things that we’ve come to appreciate from Pikmin. And yet, we’ve only scratched the surface of understanding these tiny creatures! As awareness of their existence spreads throughout the universe, we hope to learn more about them in the future.
Those of you with keen minds can find out more about Pikmin through further research. From the documented journeys of Captain Olimar and PNF-404’s exploration by the inhabitants of planet Koppai, right up to the recent adventures of the Rescue Corps, there’s always something new to learn!