The good life

Last year’s Digital Life convention, after having been promoted around campus with self-stick posters, turned out to be something you could spend about an hour in and get pretty bored with. It was essentially a poor man’s NextFest (Wired Magazine’s equivalent). But this year, with Activision’s Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock being one of the primary sponsors, Digital Life actually stepped it up a notch to make it a little more enjoyable at the Javits Center.

The event was filled with plenty of familiar faces: Microsoft greeted you with Vista playing cards as you walked in, Toshiba and HP stood next to each other off to the left, Best Buy had their area, and the John Lennon Education Bus was parked off to the side. New faces such as HD DVD and Red Octane (developers of Guitar Hero) made appearances as well.

September 26 was actually labeled “Guitar Hero Day in NY” to honor the successful series. Its booth within the convention center was filled with about 15 televisions with Guitar Hero III demos set up at each and a lounge to play actual Gibson guitars.

Some of the other technology there was pretty impressive. Nikko America attracted Star Wars fans with some small R2-D2 models. One R2 was a webcam that you can control with a mock lightsaber while another acted as a digital projector. Pyramat showed off some of its sound furniture collection. They were comfortable, even with the speakers inside, but definitely a mere luxury as you have to be willing to spend that kind of money.

Mattell and Hasbro were around as well, showing off new product lines and spruced-up older ones for children. There was even a Guitar Hero Jr. named “I Can Play Guitar.”

PC Magazine set up numerous booths in one area to show off different home accessories for a range of activities: gaming, watching movies, and so on. HD DVD presented hourly panels to show off what they have to offer over their Blu-Ray competitors (Blu-Ray failed to show up). Gamers also got their fix beyond Guitar Hero, as there were tournaments going on in the back and Microsoft showing off games for Windows in the front.

So, although you could see the entire show pretty quickly, Digital Life proved to be more worth the price of admission this year than last. Despite a majority of old faces, new ones proved to be worth looking at. There should be plenty of interesting things on the marketplace this year, so keep an eye out for it all.