Mode-driven games, to me, are games where you have to complete a set of modes to make progression through the game to get to the final wizard mode. Looking at B/W games, Lawlor games specifically, if we look at TAF, TZ, Roadshow (just the first few that pop into my mind), you have to qualify a mode, start a mode, then rinse and repeat to get to the final wizard mode. Yeah, there are mulitballs, quick mulitballs, other "side" modes, but they don't necessarily give you progress through the game. If you think about TZ, you have the door panels. As long as you light them all, you'll get to LITZ. You have the main mulitball and the Powerball multiball. You could play those 2 multiballs all day without progression. Or you could play directly for door panels to get to LITZ.
If you think about LOTR for example, it has a much larger ruleset than TZ. Admittedly, I'm not super familiar with the ruleset, but from what I understand, there are several different objectives that you need to get in order to get the the final wizard mode. There are the 3 multiballs (from each of the movies), there are the ring modes, the gift of the elves (each requiring a different objective be met) etc. I'm not sure you could call those "modes" (some are modes, some are shoot X, Y, Z). Look at WoZ. I think in one of Keefer's interviews, he said that WoZ was LOTR 2.0, and just beyond the modes in that game, there are a plethora of other objectives to reach in order to get to Somewhere over the Rainbow.
I guess one could argue that the objective in Keefer's games could be considered modes. For me, it's more like ticking off a checklist of items before getting to a final wizard mode, where as, for more mode-driven games, there are actual modes that once you qualify, not necessarily complete, you'll get to a final wizard mode. I understand that with DI, you have to collect Sim card in order to get to Showdown, but that seems like a pittance compared to Keefer's ruleset lol.