What is a survival game?
Wikipedia defines survival games has a game that involves resource conservation and a hostile game environment, it then goes on to list almost every 1st/3rd person game that requires you to eat and drink.
There are only a few true hardcore survival games out there in which the player’s focus is human survival against the elements, not to shoot mutants or to creatively express yourself with blocks. Having said that, games such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Fallout New Vegas’ hardcore mode are great games, they just aren’t entirely based around player survival.
So what are these hardcore survival games you speak of? Well here are the only three I actually know of…
What a gem! Stranded II is a free, first person survival game where you are stranded on an island with almost nothing and you have to try to survive (and complete objectives if playing the Story). You need to eat, drink and sleep, which means fishing, hunting, building a shelter, finding a water source, planting seeds you find, mining, etc. It’s also heavily moddable, which is always a plus!
The download size is about 13mb, why not try it out?
Based off Stranded II, a mod for Garry’s Mod has been developed which allows players to play a survival game online and on the source engine. It is essentially the same as Stranded II and has all the same features, only collecting wood, rocks and other resources will allow you to spawn and build props, for example building a Barrel might cost 10 metal. As you play the game more, you will be able to build guns as well, these cost a lot of resources of course. The mod also features a Tribe system where you can invite other players to your tribe to work together, or to take down other tribes.
There are still loads of servers for this mod, so if you have Garry’s Mod it’s worth taking a look.
A hardcore survival MMO originally developed by Notch, however quite different from Minecraft. Players start with a small assortment of basic tools and will have to build their way out of starvation in this fantasy world. Food and drink (and of cause health) are the crucial resource in this survival game but unlike Stranded II, there is more a sense of ‘real-time’ in doing actions and getting hungry it isn’t as fast paced, Wurm time is 8x real time. Wurm is free to play until skill level 20.
You can read my in depth article on Wurm Online here.