Ever since Minecraft was released and hooked gamers on its sandbox-survival gameplay, a legion of survival games have been released to form the survival game genre.
Of course, some survival games are more realistic than others, so we wanted to put together a short list of survival games that can actually teach you some real-world survival skills. Because it’s 2020, and a total Skynet-style AI takeover is pretty imminent, so this kind of stuff may be useful.
Minecraft offers one of the most fun and addicting survival experiences around, and there’s never any shortage of people to play with online as Minecraft is literally the best-selling video game of all time.
While Minecraft may not offer much in terms of realism (I mean, I wouldn’t trust a house made entirely out of stacked blocks in real life), Minecraft will teach you some valuable survival skills like, how to herd ducks into a pen using only a handful of wheat seeds.
There’s also an enormous mod community, so you can download some mods that enhance the game’s realism. Minecraft has received a lot of updates and expansions over the years, but for a truly unforgiving survival experience (bugs and all), you can check out Minecraft Classic here.
While DayZ might be known for its infamously toxic community, where people are more interested in shooting each other than actually surviving, you can optionally play on private PvE servers that are a lot more community-oriented.
Having said that, survival in DayZ revolves around the basics such as food, water, and shelter, but there are other little details like injuries from walking barefoot, and blood transfusions gone wrong if you use the wrong blood type. You’ll also heavily rely on your map, compass, and awareness skills such as recognizing landmarks and tracking animals while hunting.
If zombie-themed survival games are your thing, be sure to check out Zombs Royale, a 2D battle royale game that, similarly to DayZ, pits you against both zombies and other human players.
Similar to DayZ (and most open-world survival games, to be honest), Rust might be well-known for its shoot-on-sight player mentality, but there are plenty of PvE servers that are a lot friendlier and helpful to newcomers.
Rust is a little more similar to Minecraft than DayZ, as far as base-building and scavenging supplies goes, with all the survival elements you’d expect from this genre such as the necessity for shelter, warmth, and food.
Scum is in the same veins as DayZ and Rust, except the survival realism is dialed up to 11. In fact, it could even be considered a survival simulation, as it’s pretty much the only survival game with an incredibly detailed system that completely tracks your eating and drinking, down to the calories you consume, which will affect your character’s weight, vitamin levels, even how often you poop. Yes, you need to poop in Scum, which has led to all sorts of hilarious player screenshots of pooping in strange places.
In any case, Scum will definitely teach you how to think about every bit of food you put into your body during survival scenarios.
Disaster Hero is a browser game that was developed in partnership with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It offers a series of minigames with lessons on disaster preparation, and covers subjects like what to do if you’re trapped during an earthquake, or how to get the attention of first responders.
Of all the games on this list, Disaster Hero may offer the most applicable real-life survival lessons, even if it’s not a fully fleshed-out video game like the others.