” I think we need to make some windows for our shelter. What do you think?” I spoke to my son Carter. He was young. Probably too young to be playing Minecraft but then again, who makes those rules?
“Yea. We need windows so we can see the mobs,” he replied. My son Carter took to survival mode in Minecraft right away.
“Ok buddy, well, how do we make windows with the stuff we have around us?”
Carter, no older than 4 at the time, answered this question with such confidence that it really opened my eyes to the potential of cooperative video gameplay with your children.
“We have to find sand and smelt it in our furnace.”
I cannot remember when I was taught that glass was made from heated sand but I was much older than Carter. In fact, the sheer base of information that he was exposed to and held onto through playing Minecraft with Dad was astounding.
- Sunlight, bonemeal and water for gardening
- Mining ores to create metals
- The value of resources like wood, metal, gems and precious metals
- Basic shelter building
- The concept of livestock and captive food resources over hunting for food
- Even the basics of engaging and evading enemies
Of course, these skills and lessons were backed up by our activities in real life. That cannot be overlooked. However, I compare this experience to me hitting Mario’s head on blocks and squashing Goombas throughout my childhood.
Survival games are a different thing now. You can learn a lot and you can simulate things in this environment. You might otherwise be watching people sing or dance or make out in a hot tub on television.
Depends on how you wanna spend your time.
Top Survival Games for Entertainment and Strategic Thinking
Top Survival Video Games
Michael Kline is the Friday night host over at the Prepper Broadcasting Network. His show Reality Check is a well-researched show we hear a couple of times a year.
Recently, he did a show on survival video games. Before this show was released we talked on the phone about our favorite games and Michael told me that he uses them as simulation with his friends to play out many things we so rarely get to experiment within reality.
Here are my picks for top survival games on the market, today. Some are really best suited for single players while others allow you to get the whole family involved.
I am a gamer. Not the kind that makes money or competes but I have been playing video games as far back as I can remember. In the small backroom of our Marcus Hook row home, I cycled through Atari and Nintendo cartridges.
I was so devoted that I would be given to bouts of extreme anger that resulted in things like controllers flying through the air.
All these years later I still play. It’s even better now because I play with my family. The Walton family can get lost in a game of Mario Party. My wife often sits out the Fortnite and fighting games.
When I find the time to play in the dark of night when the family has fallen asleep, I turn to the best survival game ever created. I turn on The Long Dark.
The Long Dark has changed drastically since its introduction many years ago.
You are the sole survivor following a geomagnetic storm that brought your plane down in British Columbia.
You wake up in a random frozen location with a backpack and sparse clothes. You almost instantly start freezing and have to quickly figure out how you are going to get out of the cold and survive for an unknown time period.
One of the best features of The Long Dark is that there is no way to win in Sandbox mode. This was the original mode. You literally just have to survive as long as possible.
Roaming from forest to small abandoned town, you don’t confront many enemies. Wolves and bears can be a problem but mainly the antagonist of The Long Dark is the environment!
You will be responsible for hydration, hunger, core body temperature, injuries, and sleep. It’s not always easy to catch a meal or eat at all in a frozen world with temps way below zero.
Add to this the occasional blizzard that will literally become a whiteout making travel impossible and you realize just how challenging your time in The Long Dark will be.
There are no great bosses, no battles and no real award for surviving. Still, I attest that The Long Dark is the best game ever made. Easily, a top survival game for this list.
The nuclear war is over.
Europe is devastated,
Norway has become the last stand.
You start as a nameless Outlander,
but who will you become?
No time for uncertainty.
Nearly the opposite but still a great game Vigor is a loot and shoot style game.
You are one of the few survivors and you are building a home in the woods. Each mission gives more materials to better up that shelter of yours. You can craft guns and ammo before heading out into the world. Of course, the world has other survivors.
Each round of Vigor offers up countless places to be searched for materials. There is also a valuable supply drop that lands at some point in each round. Everyone knows exactly where the supply drop will land. So, you have a decision to make.
Do you take on the other survivors for that supply drop or do you stay on the outskirts and loot or do you go do battle? Either way, if you get killed you lose everything.
Vigor is a thoughtful loot and shoot game that depends more on positioning and tactics than it does on jumping around the screen trying to make that perfect shot with your weapons.
This game presents you with very few interactions with enemies and those sparse interactions are only with other online opponents. These interactions are anything but predictable.
You can never know their motivations. Some will walk right by you and others will try to kill you and take what is yours.
Oh, yea! Did I mention there is a radioactive cloud that is approaching the map? If you cannot make it out to the checkpoints fast enough the cloud will kill you at the end of each round.
Vigor is free to play so there is no reason not to give it a try!
There are gobs of other survival games and entertainment out there and I am sure people will be disappointed that I didn’t include their favorite, however, Minecraft is special.
It’s a special game in survival mode because it forces you to start from scratch. Granted you can wind up traveling through portals and fighting mythical creatures but at its heart, it is great survival fun.
In order to have any kind of success in Minecraft, you will have to establish a level of self-sufficiency where things like security, shelter, food and rest are all included.
You cannot exist by just roaming and hunting. Well, you can but that is all you will be able to do. In many ways, Minecraft is like the rapid game equivalent of humanities jump from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic.
There is no gore, drug use or sex in Minecraft. Even if there were it would all be pixelated and hilarious. This means you can play with the whole family and as I mentioned, you can teach some important lessons on the back of an entertaining game.
Survival Card Games
There is a collection of great card games out there that are given to survival in one sense or another. In this section, we have two games that are pretty different from one another.
Zombie, Run is a very interesting zombie apocalypse card game that requires a bit of daring and risk-taking. It is an incredibly simple game where you deal with one deck of Zombie cards that are numbered.
The goal is to discard as many of the zombie cards as possible and have the least about of zombies in your hand. The catch is, you can only look at 2 cards of your 4 card hand. The other 2 you must decide whether or not to keep or exchange these cards.
When someone feels like they have the least amount of zombies in their hand they call out “I GOT BRAINS!!” and everyone must reveal their cards. The person with the least amount of zombies in their hand wins!
It’s still but it is fun and great for younger kids.
Until Daylight is on the total opposite side of the spectrum. This is a deeply involved cooperative board game that requires strategy and little understanding of the apocalypse.
The design of this game is beautiful with great character art. The resources and other cards are well designed.
The goal of any Until Daylight player is to survive 10 waves of enemies and save at least one survivor. That is how you win the game. Of course, it’s not easy.
In fact, you are even told that you might die on your first try. However, as time goes on you will begin to really enjoy the ability to craft traps and battle enemies as a team.
This is a cooperative game and that is one of my favorite elements.
Board games have come a long way! Checkers, while a great game, just isn’t the same thing as the games we are going to talk about here.
These are all survival games that are tremendously entertaining. Some lean heavily on just understanding the natural world while others stand on a setting of the near apocalypse.
This simply named game is one of the most played board games in our home. We all love Camp and we love it because it is designed to be loved by 4-year-olds to 40-year-olds. It can also be challenging to all of the above!
At its core Camp is a board game where you choose a character, like Suzy Salmon, and attempt to make your way around the game board. If you land on certain spaces you will be given a card with questions on it.
Each card has four levels of questions. Each question is based on a person’s level of understanding of the natural world.
Is this a picture of a bluebird?
What is the Latin name for a bluebird?
When we play camp we have a 4-year-old, a well-versed 8-year-old, a 34-year-old survivalist and his wife who is not as inclined to the outdoors. Even with this diversity, we can all choose the level of questions that keeps it all very competitive.
The Get Out Of Dodge Game is a smaller production game. You won’t find it in Walmart and places like that. You can buy it on Amazon.
This is a game all about bugging out and you will run into plenty of issues along your bugout route. This is a pretty traditional board game style of play with cards and dice.
Jordan Smith, the host of A Family Affair on PBN, is a huge fan of this game. She has played it with her entire family and had great fun. There is also a kids version of this game that you can buy, as well!
While this is not a high budget, mass-produced game that will be the talk of the office, the G.O.O.D Game is a game made by preppers for preppers and that has some real perks to it!
With Covid-19 or coronavirus on everyone’s mind, it may or may not be the right time to play Pandemic. This board game is one of those widely available board games that can be purchased at most major retailers.
The setting of Pandemic is very interesting. You are a disease-fighting specialist who is living in a world where there are multiple pandemic infections broken out all over the world. It is your job to cure these diseases and save the world!
You have a deck of cards that are going to give the disease-fighting specialists a number of options. You can do things like work on the cure, treat the infected and travel between cities.
Unfortunately, lurking in that deck of cards are those marked “Epidemic! “These cards make the disease progress even faster! You only need four cards of a disease to cure it but if you don’t cure the disease before it spreads too much you all lose!
Might this be a little too real for right now? However, it’s a fun time and certainly a top survival game.
We have covered a wide range of survival entertainment from video games to board games. Depending on what you prefer there are a number of options for you.
You might think these games are something of a past time but I would disagree. I am a proponent of modern gaming in all its forms. This is because if nothing else you start to develop your strategic mind.
Survival simulation in these top survival games is never going to be a substitute for actually living the life and practicing the skills. That said, there are some aspects of survival and prepping that you don’t want to simulate.
Life in a post-apocalyptic world exists only in the simulation world. That is where we want it to stay! Sometimes these simulations are the only way to get the mind thinking about the unique challenges you and yours could face.
Or maybe you are just looking for a good time! Either way, these survival games are designed to do just that!