Haxball, Free Multiplayer Football Game
There aren't many free online sports games and even fewer good ones, but Haxball is a great free, multiplayer online football game (football in the sense of soccer) that actually works. It won't impress you with its graphics, nor will it impress you with its sweeping soundtrack, but it will impress you with its multiplayer online fun.
Let me take a moment to introduce you to the basic mechanics of the game. The red and blue circles are players, the little white ball in the middle is the football. To play the game, you use the arrow keys to pilot your particular circle towards the ball. With a bunch of other people also piloting their circles towards the ball, things quickly get pretty chaotic. Chaotic in a good way, of course. With the ball in motion, the chase is on.
With a little bit of strategy it may be possible to organize a game with attackers and defenders, but most of the time it's a wild and wicked free for all, like a real game of soccer would be if everyone just hurled themselves towards the ball like a pack of screaming lunatics. In other words, its football the way the fans really wish it was played.
A minor problem with the game is that in order for anyone to join, the game must first be stopped. People who value continuity may be irritated by this, but then again, people are probably irritated by many things, stoppy starty online football games notwithstanding.
The interface is charmingly simple to use, simply enter a player name then pick from one of the available games currently playing. It is possible to join a game merely as a spectator, and those with a desire to show a little compassion to their fellow Haxball players may wish to wait until a goal has been scored before clicking 'Menu' and 'Stop Game' in order to add themselves to a team. It would probably be significantly better if the developer changed the Haxball interface to a more TF2 style affair, where players were added automatically in between goals. The power to stop games is a power that may not rest easily in the hands of the many.
In a refreshing departure from free online games that appear to exist only to get you to buy meaningless points, or to isolate you in spheres of despair, Haxball is a potential place to meet new like minded friends. Friends who are adept with the arrow keys and who have time to spare to play with you. Not like your real world friends who are too busy varnishing their lorries and breeding parakeets to take five minutes out of their day to ask how you are.