If you’re of college age, and even just a casual video game player, chances are that you’ve played SimCity at one point or another. Probably for overly-extended periods of time, if we’re being honest. Yet, despite the strength and appear that Will Wright’s famous city builder saw during the 90′s and early 00′s, the title been somewhat eclipsed in recent years by Maxis and Electronic Arts other open-ended simulator, The Sims, leaving SimCity fans without a new iteration in years. Thankfully, a new SimCity is due out this March, but if you just can’t wait to get their hands on of the most anticipated builder games ever made, you’re in luck.

In a move that is likely just as much about sating the appetites of their voracious fans as well as testing for kinks bugs in the game itself, EA and Maxis have opened up SimCity for another round of closed beta testing scheduled for January 25 through January 28. Unfortunately, the amount of play time you’ll be getting will be extremely abbreviated, with each registered tester receiving only one hour to build a budding metropolis before getting the boot.

To sign-up, head over to the beta registration page of the SimCity website. You’ll first a need an Origin Account with EA before you start anyhing else. Then, you’ll need to agree to the end-user license agreement (EULA) and fill out a survey about your general philosophy and habits when it comes to gaming. Then, it’s just a matter of waiting to see if you’re selected for the closed beta.

Word to the wise, however: given the amount of salivation occuring over this game, many would-be beta testers have reported quite a bit of difficulty just signing up for the test at all. For example, after signing into my Origin Account, the registration window for beta disappeared completely, leading me to have to reopen it in another tab. Then, after attempting to agree tot he end-user license agreement, I get big error message that makes me have to refresh. While this is likely not intentional on the part of Maxis and EA and more so about the understandably massive amount of traffic that the buzz is generating, it is annoying nonetheless. With a little dogged determination, however, I was able to register, so just keep at it until you make it to the end.

As for the game itself, it essentially looks like the lovechild of SimCity 4 and The Sims 3. While many of the mechanics of past titles remain, the biggest changes you’ll notice are the ones that allow for a greater degree of options available for every aspect of city building, from curving roads to individualized ambitions and aspirations for every Sim that lives in your town. From what Maxis and EA have released so far, this version of SimCity looks more intuitive than ever before without becoming overly-simplified, like the much-hated SimCity Societies. If anything, the amount of control you have over what you can build in your city makes it reach a level of complexity that was never possible in previous iterations.

“SimCity is a game about endless choices,” said lead designer Stone Librande. “Ultimately, you can do whatever you want.”

For a look at SimCity in action, check out this video of Librande contructing a Las Vegas-style town right before your eyes.