One of the great things about the independent gaming scene, or indie games market, is the creativity behind some of the concepts and designs. The rise of digital distribution has enabled developers to explore different ideas or neglected genres that mainstream publishers are too afraid to invest in.
We're also starting to see games that are becoming increasingly difficult to categorize or label using conventional terms. In DayZ, a mod for Bohemia Interactive's Arma II, developer Dean Hall has taken the engine behind a military combat simulator and adapted it to create a zombie apocalypse simulator, if that's even possible.
Yet that's close to what DayZ feels like. It's not a traditional action game, nor is it a traditional shooter or horror title. Instead the focus is on survival in an open world filled with potential threats. You'll be able to explore 225 square kilometers of terrain while scavenging areas for needed supplies and keeping a close eye on zombies and other players.
Simulation-oriented features include monitoring your character's body temperature, bandaging wounds so you don't lose too much blood, seeking out morphine to dull the pain from potential fractures, and finding ways to address your character's hunger and thirst.
The DayZ mod is currently available for download on the official DayZ website, but keep in mind that 1) it's in an alpha state and 2) it requires a copy of Arma II to play. More information about the game can be found on my DayZ profile page, not to be confused with the Jay-Z profile page on About.com's rap site.
Image © Dean Hall