Survival Gaming Key Terms

Survival Gaming Key Terms and Slang

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Survival games have become increasingly popular in recent years. In many survival games, you’re dropped buck-naked in an open-world hostile environment with limited supplies, and your job is basically to make the best of the situation.

Survival games include crafting to make better equipment, collect resources and build bases to survive against the dangerous elements of the game. Most survival games included the open-ended concept where the player can either play around the objective and finish the game or survive for as long as they want in that individual playthrough.

The following guide will give you a simple understanding of the survival genre and what you need to do to increase your chance of survival. The complex mechanics of a survival game can make it quite difficult to master, but the fundamentals always remain the same.

How Do You Play Survival Games?

  • Collect Resources: When starting a survival adventure, you first want to collect basic resources to counter hunger and/or thirst. Wander around in the area and find everything edible, including meat from animals, fruit on plants, and fishes in the lake.
  • Craft Better Gear: You will start a survival game with bare essential tools to help you gather resources and upgrade your tools. To be successful in a survival game, you will need to improve your basic items and create better gear, weapons, and tools. This can be done by gathering rare crafting materials.
  • Build A Base: Building a shelter in a survival game is generally the first thing you do after crafting weapons/tools and gathering food. Survival games tend to be more dangerous at night, mainly because of the lack of visibility and increased monster count.
  • Explore Your Surroundings: When you’re done with the essentials like crafting and building a base, it’s time to get familiar with your surroundings. Survival games are filled with secrets and points of interest that can help you unlock new items or discover something new.
  • Research New Items: While not many games include the research feature, you have to find blueprints to create more complex items such as speed boosts, gliders, or rifles.

Glossary of a Survival Game Key Terms for Beginners


A list of survival gaming key terms that can be used to craft weapons, tools, or utility items.

  • Wood: The most basic resource in any survival game, most items in the game are crafted with wood; you can even use it to build foundations for your base.
  • Stone: Can be used to create basic starting weapons and tools like a stone axe or a rusted knife.
  • Ore: There are many types of ores, varying in rarity and durability. These ores include iron, steel, gold, and other metals, which can be used to upgrade your weapons or create complex items.
  • Rope: Can be crafted with cloth; it’s used to build foundations, traps, ziplines, and craft items such as bow and arrow, waterskin, and other storage items.
  • Stick: A primary building material; sticks are found abundantly in nature from small trees or twigs. It can be used as a weapon or craft better weapons, tools, builds, and campfires. 
  • Cloth: The most basic use of this item is to craft a rope. However, you can also use it to create a torch.
  • Booze: Can be used to quench your thirst, combine it with cloth and a lighter, and you’ve got a Molotov.
  • Feather: You can collect features by hunting birds or even chickens; feathers can be used to craft arrows for your bow.
  • Bones: You can collect Bones from either hunting animals or an enemy, most likely cannibals.
  • Herb: Herbs are combinable materials that you can use to create medicine or any other positive buffs.
  • Duct tape: A must-have item in any survival game, can be used to repair items.


A list of structure terms that you can build inside a survival game

  • Campfire: Can be built with sticks and leaves; use a lighter to light the fire. It can provide warmth in the cold season.
  • Bonfire: An upgrade from the basic campfire, it burns for a longer time and can be used to cook food on top of it. You need stones, sticks, and leaves to craft it. 
  • Shelter: You can use a basic shelter to skip the night or save your progress.
  • Planter Pot: Crafted with tree logs, you can grow plants inside.
  • Treehouse: The treehouse is an elevated shelter built on a tree, serving the same purpose as a traditional shelter, but it looks nice.
  • Defensive Wall: Used to secure a perimeter around your base, can fend off zombies, cannibals, or other wild beasts.
  • Water Collector: A simple structure that collects clean rainwater can be built with a turtle shell.
  • Armor Stand: An armor stand is used to store your armor pieces; if you have extra, you can build an armor stand and leave it there.
  • Bed: Serves the same purpose as you can use a shelter to skip the night or save your progress.
  • Chair: Chair is used to recover stamina or sit around a campfire and chill with your friends. It can be built using sticks.
  • Animal Trap: You can use a simple animal trap to catch small furry animals like rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, or boats.
  • Fish Trap: The fish trap is a variant of an animal trap placed in water to catch fish.
  • Noose Trap: The ultimate defense is that you can use the noose trap to hang your enemies upside-down and combine it with a proper barricade, there’s no way someone can enter your territory.
  • Raft: A raft allows you to travel across the water; this way, you can avoid the enemies present on the land, but what about the creatures lurking in the sea?


A list of utility terms that can help throughout your survival adventure.

  • Torch: You can craft a torch by combining a stick and cloth and setting it aflame with a lighter and used to light up dark areas.
  • Lighter: A handy-dandy lighter will always save your day; it produces a small amount of light, and it’s used to light molotovs, arrows, and campfires.
  • Flashlight: Call it an upgrade over the lighter and torch; though it emits a brighter light, it does run out of batteries. 
  • Battery: Batteries can be found or crafted with copper ore, and they can power various gadgets.
  • Backpack: Increases your inventory slots to store more items in your inventory.
  • Map: A must-have utility item that lets a player easily navigate the world.
  • Meds: Medicine is a consumable item that can restore a player’s health; medicine can be crafted and found in abandoned buildings.
  • Bandage: Serves a similar purpose as medicine, though the amount of healing is significantly lower.
  • Waterskin: You can store drinkable water for later if you’re exploring away from your base.
  • Walkie-Talkie: Some games offer in-game communication to bring a more realistic experience; a walkie-talkie is used to talk to another player inside the game.

Weapons and Tools

A list of weapons and tools that can either be crafted or obtained from secret locations inside a survival game.

  • Knife: You can use a basic tool for multiple things as chopping down trees, skinning animals, or fighting enemies.
  • Sword: A sharpened weapon, you can use the sword only to kill your enemies. Many survival games include a sword, but it’s not a craft-able item; you need to find it.
  • Axe: Axe is used to cut down trees or fend off your enemies; you can craft an axe with different types of ores as stone, iron, and even gold.
  • Hammer: You can only use a hammer for building or repairing set foundations or furniture. Though in a few games, you can use it as a weapon.
  • Pickaxe: You can use a pickaxe to mine ores, you can use it against aggressive creatures, but it does very little damage.
  • Dynamite: A throwable stick bomb that you can use to blow up caves or dig craters in the ground; you can do some real damage with this thing.
  • Flare gun: An entirely decorative piece of equipment, survival games tend to show this as a means to call for help.
  • Spear: A pokey stick! You can use it to hurt your enemies from a safe distance and also do spearfishing.
  • Molotov: Combined with booze and cloth, it can ignite a large area on fire, good against a horde of enemies.
  • Crossbow: An upgrade over the simple basic bow and arrow, the crossbow can fire projectiles twice as fast and does more damage.


A list of food terms that are available inside a survival game.

  • Raw Meat: You can obtain meat by hunting deer, rabbits, squirrels, turtles, boar, sharks, and birds. The fresh meat you obtain from these animals is called raw meat, and you have to cook it before you eat it.
  • Spoiled Meat: If meat isn’t cooked within a certain period, it will get spoiled, though you still eat, it won’t provide you much hunger or health.
  • Cooked Meat: Meat can be cooked on a bonfire or a campfire in some games; cooked meat gives more health and HP.
  • Soda: Can be found in abandoned buildings or campsites and used for quenching your thirst.
  • Snacks: You can find an energy bar in abandoned buildings or campsites, which you can use to recover stamina, health, and energy.
  • Berry: Berries are easily found in the forest; you can pick berries from bushes and store them later; you can even plant them in a planter pot.


You will encounter most of these items in every survival game, and with a basic understanding of what these items are, you are ready to start your survival adventure. It would help if you remembered that survival games tend to get more difficult with each passing day, so it is generally better to start prepping as soon as possible.

If you’re a beginner at survival games and looking for new games to play, I suggest you take a look at The Forest. It is a well-balanced game for beginners and experts, there are multiple levels of difficulty, and the game offers various adventures for unique items inside the game. But the vast open world can be somewhat intimidating if you’re not good at navigating.

If you’re more interested in a confined-space survival game and prefer to drag your entire base along with you, Raft is an excellent survival adventure. It’s not as intimidating as The Forest, and it offers limited features which you can master in a few days, but the game soon becomes repetitive.

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