Well in case you didn't know, today is my game night. I have 2 game nights a week where I can play online with my buddies after the kiddies go to bed. The nights usually consist of some beer, some friendly online banter and blowing up tons of crap in my favorite game, Call of Duty 4.
However, tonight will be different. There will still be booze (hopefully), banter and blowing up....but the game will change. We just got in on the "closed beta" of a new game that is coming out in June. Its another online war game called Battlefield: Bad Company and we've been looking forward to it for a while now.
In case you aren't a game nerd like me, a "beta" is a test period during which players try out new games and offer feedback to help work out the kinks before its actual release. The game is pretty much a finished build and they are just polishing up and tweaking any issues that are still hanging around. Beta's are usually by invite only but every so often a game opens it up to the public. You still have to "apply" to get in but its much easier...as long as you get to it quick enough. The public beta's usually fill up fast, especially for highly anticipated titles.
I've been lucky in that I have gotten in on every big game beta I've wanted to recently and its lots of fun. Its great to try out the new games months before everyone else and play with a relatively small group of people that you know are there because they love to play (read: you don't have to worry about playing in a room full of retarded 9 year old spoiled brats swearing constantly and irritating everyone to no end....ah the joys of online gaming). Its also nice to know that your input will hopefully help the game be the best it can be. And its a good sign usually for the title when the devs take the time to set up these beta's and let the community help finish it up. It means that they are really looking to make this the best game they possibly can. Face it, they will know if a game is crap or not and chances are they won't take the time and effort to set up a beta if its gonna be a stinker.
So tonight while my lovely wife hosts her Southern Living party, I will be preparing for virtual battle with a few of my good buds (you ready Jason?). Wish me luck and Godspeed as I enter the electronic battlefield. And pity any fool that gets in my crosshairs!