Instantaction.com is an online social gaming site featuring browser-based 3D games. The games are not based on Flash, but on a browser plug-in developed by Instantaction. The site has social networking features such as messaging, profiles, friends and in-game chat capability. The entire site is accessed via the browser plug-in, and displays in a browser window that also contains an advertising section. The ad box is well out of the way of the game window. The browser plug-in is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Download and installation of the plug-in takes only a moment. The first time a game is played, loading the game may take up to several minutes, but subsequent game starts take only a few seconds. All of the games are somewhat casual, with a quick learning curve and few controls to remember. All are mouse-based with some commands requiring use of the keyboard.
Instantaction was launched in March 2008 by Eugene, OR based Garage Games, a subsidiary of media conglomerate IAC. Entrepreneurs Mark Frohnmayer, Tim Gift, Rick Overman, and Jeff Tunnell founded Garagegames in 2001. Instantaction passed the million-user mark in December 2008 and currently has over a million registered users. The site changed from a subscription-based model to an advertising-supported site in November 2008. This resulted in a large spike in the site’s growth.
The main difference between Instantaction and other browser-based 3D gaming sites is their proprietary plug-in. Games are quicker and more responsive than their Flash counterparts, and the plug-in features support for games programmed in most any language. The games play more like PC or console-based games than games at other sites. The entire site feels like one application, and everything fits neatly into the browser window without scrolling (except for parts of the Help section).
The fact that almost the entire site is accessed via the browser plug-in makes for a very responsive and easy to navigate site. Navigation is intuitive, with a top menu bar featuring links to the major areas. The overall look and feel is very pleasing. The site is very responsive, and games are quick and responsive, but the first time you start a game it takes an annoyingly long time to load. There is extensive in-game help available, as well as a full-featured support section. There are separate sections for messaging, managing friends and managing the user profile.
Registration at Instantaction is required in order to download the plug-in and begin playing games. The registration process asks for email address, username, DOB and a password. Registration requires confirmation of the email address. Once registered, users have access to all of the games and all areas of the site.
All games are free to play, but new levels, powerups and accessories such as additional avatars and game tokens can be purchased for some of the games. Payment methods accepted by the site include PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and JCB card. Transactions are handled securely, and credit card checkout requires full billing information (except for phone number).
Instantaction is recommended to anyone wishing to play free browser-based 3D games in an online gaming community. The games are just as responsive as their PC and console-based counterparts, and the social gaming aspect is well supported. The site has a good selection of games in a variety of genres. The games are casual, so beginners as well as experts can enjoy the site. The first time you play a game it takes a very long time to load.