If a game is gonna earn its place here on this catch-all, there better be blood, dirt and engine oil under its nails.
Many games call themselves survival experiences but only the best will be highlighted in this original post (OP). And there will be no criteria. No check-list. A good survival game should leave a good impression.
Now, if there's disagreement, fine. State your case and we'll get to talking. Maybe there'll be something I overlooked or had not considered.
THIS WAR OF MINE
“Stealing from the elderly was awful and it wasn't the fact they might die from lack of medical supplies (because I stole the medical supplies). No, it was awful because they would not shut up. Everything I took was followed by a plea for mercy or a ‘How could you do this?!’” - Pietro
This War of Mine nails it as a survival experience but what really sells it, or what really grates on your soul, was how you dealt with others.
THE LONG DARK
I remember one winter’s evening I was flipping my hands, inside my rear jean pockets, so as to keep one side of them warm, while the other side got its turn freezing itself. It was about -35 C (-31 F). That transit bus could not get to me fast enough.
In the Long Dark, there will be no warm and safe transit bus coming to pick you up. There will be no bus shelter to protect you from the wind.
What? There’s no food to eat? Nothing to drink? Only madness to gain and souls to lose? This must be one of those other survival games.