Party in NYC: Digital Life

This year's Digital Life show -- which is seen by many as the consumer version of the Electronics Entertainment Expo, as it is usually the first place the general public gets to see the newest next-generation hardware -- opened with a birthday celebration for SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog, who is 15 years old, having launched on the Genesis back in 1991. On hand to help sing "Happy Birthday" to the big blue fella were the group of girl gamers, the PMS Clan, as well as actress Lacey Chabert (Party of Five, The Wild Thornberrys), who is providing the voice for the character of Princess Elise in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog for PS3 and Xbox 360. A giant, three-tiered cake, with a slightly disfigured-looking Sonic replica (presumably rendered in frosting) was dissected and served to the crowd, who mostly consisted of early arrivals waiting for the 1pm start time of the show.

The show floor itself was a giant blend of both game publishers like Square Enix (who had Final Fantasy XII displayed in force), SEGA (showcasing Yakuza, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Phantasy Star Universe), Electronic Arts (Need for Speed Carbon, Madden, etc.), Konami (Dance Dance Revolution: Super Nova and American Idol Karaoke machines were set up and are among the most popular attractions at the show), and Sony (whose two PlayStation 3s -- one showing NBA 07 and the other showing Resistance: Fall of Man -- had huge lines of people waiting to try out Sony's highly-anticipated upcoming new console). This is the first year where all three major hardware manufacturers -- Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo -- have all participated in the event (past years were Microsoft-centric), with even Nintendo Wii titles playable on the show floor, something that cannot be said for Nintendo's presence even at shows as recent as the Tokyo Game Show, where Wii games were displayed on video only.

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