A type of software crash, crash and burn is a subset of horrible death. A program goes into crash and burn mode when a pointer error causes the program to start overwriting video memory with arbitrary data. DOS and Apple II games crashed and burned occasionally, as did some Amiga programs. Crash and burn is a rare if entertaining error, sometimes the resulting screen fireworks are more interesting than the games that crashed.

This is not the authoritative definition from the Jargon File, but FWIW, I have heard "crash and burn" used this way since about 1984. Woundweavr's writeup is much closer to the Jargon File definition.