Minigames are interesting things. They're purpose built to distract the player - to give them something different to do for ten minutes in order to break up the flow of the main game. In a sense, they're tacit admissions of the fact that sometimes games - especially long ones - can get a bit monotonous.
SECOND UPDATE: It's happening! Ian's managed to get on top of the technical difficulties (in other words he had stern words with Virgin Media and they sorted out his internet connection) so we're back on for a 5.30pm BST start. Don't go outside! It's horrible out there anyway.