The dialogue in the second panel isn't true, not exactly, but it might as well have been. Gabriel told me not to discuss the strip in any detail, and so I wont. Apparently he wants it all to himself, and being almost paralyzed by this novelty I was in no position to refuse him.
It's perfectly fine with me; that means we can talk about Kingdoms of Amalur, which I had more or less decided wasn't in the schedule.
That's worth unpacking, actually: If I determined it wasn't in my schedule, and my time is in some ways much more plastic, how many others were under the mistaken impression that they could avoid this game without consequence? This is what a demo does, publishers, if you were wondering: sell games to people. Offering a demo creates the first stage of rapport. In effect, it elicits response.
Electronic Arts has done things keyed off of purchase before: they got their "Dead Space" in my "Dragon Age," to coin a phrase. But tying material benefits for Kingdoms and Mass Effect stuff directly to the demo, which has no cost other than the time you spend with it, and the net widens. There's even a demo for the PC - the PC, friends! - for whistle-wetting purposes. It's also a demo that sets you loose after its initial tutorial payload. You don't have access to everything, but you have forty-five minutes to explore, which is interesting. I'm waiting for the retail game that absorbs my progression from the demo, but I am sometimes called an optimist.
Kingdoms of Amalur is fairly audacious, in that it tries to find a midpoint between Blizzard "lush" and Skyrim "breadth," with combat that is immediate and kinetic and substantially less SCA. It's a smart-ass, upstart maneuver that should have resulted in room temperature dogshit, and it didn't. Check it out.