This is why I write about games instead of make them, I suppose. Still, I do maintain that really cool things could happen if the traditional format of "chunks get taken out of your life until you die" were overhauled in some clever way, depending on the game, just like innovating on the whole "miss your jump and fall and it's game over" is part of what I find so genius about Braid. Lots of people brought up the way taking hits works in Warioland -- maybe we need a little more of that.
In contrast, and in contrition, I must highly recommend an excellent traditional platformer that recently became available on Virtual Console; I didn't pick it up until last night. I'd never heard of it, actually, but purchased it on the strong recommendation of a trusted colleague. It's all in Japanese, but there's no need to read to play. Please, please check out DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's DokiDoki Adventure. My colleague said that it's easily one of the best platformers ever, from the SNES heyday, and also that the music is awesome, and he's right on both counts. If you need help deciding, check the gameplay video:
So go buy it, and forgive me for my lapse yesterday!