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Sign up for SimCity beta -- if you can

Want to get a sneak peek at SimCity? Maxis opens the doors for a limited beta weekend, but the sign-up process is a good example of how to alienate interested users.

Trying to get into the SimCity beta is an exercise in patience, but at least the game looks beautiful. Maxis/EA

Did you miss the last SimCity beta sign-up event? You're in luck, because EA and Maxis want to give you another chance to get in on the beta for the highly anticipated building game. There's a catch, though: beta builders only get to play a snapshot of game for up to 1 hour at any point between January 25 and January 28.

Amusingly, the actual process of signing up for the beta might be more difficult than playing the game itself, as the sign-up page seems to have some serious problems going on right now -- most likely because of a high influx of interested participants.

On 10 separate occasions, I was unable to sign up for the SimCity beta, experiencing several errors that would make any gamer with pre-hypertension smash his or her keyboard into smithereens. For example, after signing in with my Origin account, I then had to enter a simple Captcha verification code and was told I entered it incorrectly every time ("Your verification code was incorrect"). I know how to read a Captcha, so, no, you're incorrect EA.

Then, after somehow getting my Captcha code to actually work, the sign-up window disappeared and I was redirected back to the main SimCity Web page, only to see that refresh into a window displaying a Drupal error (the content management system EA uses for the Web site). How wonderful.

The SimCity Twitter account prescribed a remedy for those experiencing these errors: "Heads up, Mayors -- if you're having trouble viewing the #SimCitybeta page, try a hard refresh and clear your cache."

After clearing everything (and I mean absolutely everything, short of throwing my computer out the window) I kept encountering the same set of errors. In fact, I just tried it again, and after clicking on the beta page, it simply disappears into the void. Hopefully the actual game is easier than this horrid beta sign-up experience, which I'm sure will go back to normal after people stop trying to sign up. Good luck.

Now playing: Watch this: Game trailer: SimCity