I'm talking about games, not music.
Didn't you see why I mentioned survival horror? Yes, it doesn't fit into the my scheme. I mentioned it to dismiss it as a 'real' genre. It's just Capcom's silly marketing term. Along with 'stylish hard action', another fake genre they made up to describe Devil May Cry. Thank fuck that one didn't catch on!
Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space are... 3rd person shooters.
I'll reply to your second paragraph before the first.
Yep, puzzle is category that's not a genre. Icy said that, but now I'm not sure that he actually said it was a 'miscellaneous' category. Someone else on insomnia.ac did. But that's what I'm saying. Or, what I'll say is what we might as well use the term for.http://forum.insomnia.ac/viewtopic.php?t=2814
there exist four major categories of videogames: Action, Strategy, Puzzle, and RPG. Those are the four fundamental categories of videogames possible, and they will never change. A fifth one will never be "discovered". All genres will always fit right inside those categories, or somewhere between them.
Here's what I understand from this.
Action involves pressing the right button at the right time (i.e. the reflex requirement). Or pressing the analogue stick at the right angle for the right length of time, or enduring a butting mashing segment. Physical stuff.
RPG involves taking on the role of a character (seems like a bit of an odd-one-out here. Is this a mechanical or thematic label? Let's ignore it since it's not relevant).
Strategy is figuring out the right sequence of actions, planning ahead to achieve some goal.
Puzzle is, I think, sort of like strategy, but solving problems with a more exact, definite answer.
Strategy involves tweaking many wide ranging variables (e.g. How many tanks does it take to win a battle in a RTS? The correct answer isn't an exact number, unless there's some cheap tactic that broke the game. The answer is whatever is part of a good overall strategy, and it'll depend on what other units you'll pick, how much resource gathering you'll do, what decisions the opponent is making...). Puzzles are simpler, involving fewer options, and having fewer paths to the solution. Within this category, there happen to be lots of 'misfits'.
For distilling game categories in this way, I'd mash together puzzle and strategy, put them up against action, and throw out RPG. All game challenges are now divided into the puzzle (mental) and action (physical). Defined so no 3rd option exists. And this leads me nicely on to...
The adventure game genre.
In terms of the two (or Icy's 4, as far as I can see) categories, it clearly fits under Puzzle. No requirement of You move through the game solving puzzle (the simpler, less flexible kind) after puzzle, with a bit of exploring in between (the exploration itself sometimes being a puzzle). Now my job is to explain what distinguishes them from other puzzle games like Braid or Sokoban or DROD
(play this if you like pure puzzle games btw). Inventories aren't it. You can just have puzzles based on dealing with fixed objects that are stuck in the environment. Or word puzzles. Or character-interaction puzzles.
First I wanted to say exploration. Ain't that a mechanic? The act of moving from place to place, to find stuff (like new places), is a kind of puzzle. But it's not unique enough. Braid, DROD, and Sokobon have the player move forward to new places...
I think there are common structural features. Adventure games tend to be set in a world of connected areas that you're free to explore, to go back and forth at least. But not always.
Okay, I think I have it: adventure puzzles tend to introduce new unique elements, often things somewhat familiar from real life. Everyday appliances and tools. They're involved in puzzles that call upon the player to apply their real world-derived common sense. Sokoban, Braid, DROD tend to reuse the same few elements many times, in many combinations and arrangements, exhaustively. Adventure game elements (inventory items or just things in the game world) tend to lend themselves to less flexibility and reuse. They tend to be more pre-fabricated in their usage. As opposed to the more explicable-by-internal-rules nature of a Sokoban crate or DROD roach.
Now, these descriptions are matters of degree, not binary choices. Best I can do right now. The description seems to fits graphical adventures and text adventures. Myst is just an old style graphical, point-and-click adventure, viewed in first person, right? I only played Riven. All about individual puzzles and exploration. And it tells you why DROD is at least less of an adventure game.
[I hope C.A. replied to me, since that strand of the thread was more on topic... was]
[Will check out the other strands too...]