Super Mario Galaxy helped me rediscover what I loved about video games in the first place, the thrill of discovering something new, exciting and weird, the breathless Comet Runs from planet to planet, the laughter (Yes, laughing out loud) at what new moves and tricks I learned Mario could do, the sighs of relief after leaping over that gaping chasm. I was me playing Super Mario Bros. 3 again, playing Super Mario World, playing the masses of NES, SNES, and Genesis games I beheld in wonder as a child.
What the developers at EAD Tokyo did was take a world I was comfortable in, make it 3D, and somehow (pixie dust?), imbue it with the thrills and wonder that Mario had for me at a young age. I was once again that child of 8 or 9, struggling to keep the little man in blue overalls from getting smooshed, pounded, and flung into the farthest nether regions.
Which makes me wonder, are the developers who made Super Mario Galaxy in the same boat I was? Trying to re-capture what made video games (and Mario, specifically) exciting for them in the first place? I think they are.