The ever increasing rate of data transfer available to the general public has created an Internet era of high quality media on demand. A few years ago, streaming HD video was merely a dream; these days it is viewed as the norm. We are certainly in a better position than our 56k modem days of the 1990's, when text and blocky GIFs littered our CRT screens.
This new Internet media revolution comes in many forms: video, high quality music downloads and, the subject of this article, online 3D games. Instantaction.com is riding the crest of the new wave. It features a centralized gaming community, a decent selection of 3D multiplayer games and the methods to chat and befriend like minded people around the world.
Developed by Garage Games, Instantaction was announced way back in September 2007, with the first release only supporting Windows. A Mac beta was issued this summer, but the full version was not available on Mac OS X until October 6th.
Straight from the garageInstantaction is in a sense a gaming network, much like Xbox Live or the Playstation Network. This is not to say it is as advanced or feature-filled, but it works on the same concept. Once you have created a username and signed in you can add friends, join games, and send messages, much like the above mentioned. Your screen name stays the same no matter what game you choose, so it comes across as highly integrated.
All the games are supplied by Garage Games, an indie developer that specializes in game engine creation and casual action titles. Unfortunately none of the games are new (though one or two are modified a bit), so you are highly likely to have played them before. If names like Think Tanks or Marble Blast ring a bell, you'll get the picture.
Before we continue, here is a detailed list of the games available:
Marble Blast Online
Based on the classic platformer Marble Blast, Marble Blast Online is by far the best game on show. Players roll around levels battling for the valuable gems scattered here and there. It has some fairly fancy visual effects and is a great deal of fun in quick bursts.
Nearly identical to it's standalone counterpart, Think Tanks is a competitive online shooter with several game modes and plenty of maps. Players must roll around in quirky looking vehicles blowing each other to pieces with a variety of weapons. It isn't as good as Marble Blast Online, but there is still plenty of fun to be had.
Fallen Empire: Legions
This is the obligatory first person shooter (FPS) entry. You play as a giant robot with flying abilities and a rather large arsenal of explosive weaponry - you can guess what it leads to. Games support up to 16 players, so everyone can join in.
Described as "the future of sports", Rokkitball is a strange combination of rockets, basketball and the far future. It is available for three free plays a day, but after that you have to unlock it, using the micro transaction system. It is certainly a laugh and has some great graphics for a browser game.
Zap is a 2D action shooter with a Capture-the-Flag game concept. Though simple, it proves to be great fun online. This is pretty much a clone of Garage Games' earlier Windows only title, also named Zap, albeit with better graphics.
As you can see, there is a great selection available to the average user, each one a different genre. Variety is the order of the day and Garage Games have done just that. Not only is it great for the all-round gamer, but it means that they can attract plenty of different players from all kinds of backgrounds.
So, how much do Garage Games charge for the use of their site? Zero. The games are completely free to play. This is what makes Instant Action so cool - the fact that they are delivering high quality content with no cost to the player. If you wish, you can purchase extras such as different marble skins or extra levels through a microtransaction based system (and Rokkitball only allows three plays a day before it requests payment) but for the most part, it's a free ride. Of course, there is some in-site advertising, but this is to be expected. After all, how else would they manage to keep it running?