Here's an article that Peter wrote. Hopefully this will be the start of a back and forth correspondence between Peter and myself in which we will discuss innovation and where Mario Galaxy fits within the spectrum. So without further ado....
Quality as Innovation by Peter Gault
Seth Schiesel, in his 2007 games of the year round up, criticized Super Mario Galaxy for its supposed lack of innovation; such a statement, while questionable within itself, also brings into question the definition of innovation. If we are to take innovation as simply being “things that are different” then yes, I would concede that Super Mario Galaxy is not “different” from the other Super Mario games. However, innovating a game is not simply tacking on feature x, which hasn’t been done before, and saying, “look, innovation!” Rather, a game provides an innovative experience by providing a fresh experience; this can be from new features, but also from refining the features that have been previously developed.