Mini-games haven't so much fallen out of favour with contemporary gamers as plummeted to a grisly death on the spikes of their cynicism. WarioWare was a machinegun volley of microcosmic creativity (where we picked the snot from a wincing nostril or jumped a fast-approaching sausage on wheels), but since those magnificent beginnings, our overexposure to vapid copycats has made a dirty word out of mini-games. [If not two - Ed].
It's also a dirty word that's synonymous with Nintendo's Wii. While WarioWare distilled gaming's first principles into five-second interactive sitcoms, other developers used the format to make a quick buck. Steal a few simple mechanics, skin them in a wacky theme, pour into a paper-thin metagame and bake for six months. It's a recipe for fast money. Hence Wii is now the poster-child for all that's cheap, insipid and misleading about casual gaming. Mini-game collections are scorned and shunned, just as, increasingly amongst hobbyists, is the Wii itself.
The danger, as with all black and white views, is that we throw the baby out with the bathwater. Good games are good games no matter what their length, and short-form gaming can be a hundred times more compelling than the long-form epic that requires weeks and months of investment to fully reveal itself and its treats. Nowhere is this more apparent than with Traveler's Tales' Guinness World Records, a mini-game collection that's been bypassed by gamers at large (and the BAFTA review panel in small) even though it's home to one of the strongest ideas in gaming this year.