Games not working? Troubleshooting Steps

Games not working?

If you are having problems loading the free brain games, you may need to adjust the settings on your computer or try other steps.

I've tested the games on three different computers and several different browsers. At the time I tested them all the games worked fine. So if one or more games aren't working for you, you might want to try the troubleshooting steps below:

Did you know? You can view flash content (including games) on iPads, other tablets, and smart phones, using the free Puffin browser.

Note: If you're looking for a way to mute any flash game while leaving the sound on in your other browser tabs and windows, see this article.

Check These Issues:

  • Flash Player missing. Make sure you have the free Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer. If the flash player is installed and working properly, you should see an animated flash banner in the red box below:

    You should see the message, "Play brain games... for 10 minutes... every day..." displaying on the banner.

    Note: The Google Chrome browser comes with the Flash player installed automatically. I recommend Chrome as a secure browser to use when playing flash games online.

    If you do not see the animation, you might not have a flash player installed on your browser. Most of the games on this site are written in Flash software, and a flash player is needed to play them.

    The free Adobe Flash Player can be downloaded from the Adoble website here:

    http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

    To install the player, click the Download Now button on the Adobe site and follow their instructions.

  • F5 (Refresh). Press the F5 key on your keyboard to refresh the game page. This sometimes clears the problem.

    Note: On some computers you have to hold down the function key (fn) and press F5 to refresh. On Apple/Mac computers, it's CMD+R (Apple+R) to refresh, I think.

  • Wait a bit. Some glitches are temporary and will resolve themselves. All you might need to do is wait awhile, then try the game again.

  • If the game is SLOW. If the flash game opens but runs slowly, consider disabling hardware acceleration in the flash player. According to the Flash Player Help section of the Adobe website, this can improve response time issues:

    If you have display problems with Flash Player, such as poor picture quality or slow display times, deselect Enable Hardware Acceleration in the Display panel. This should eliminate hardware or driver compatibility problems with Flash Player. Flash Player then uses software to scale and display the content.

    hardware acceleration

    To turn off hardware acceleration in the flash player, first open the flash game, then right-click on the game to open the flash player options window.

    Choose the Settings option, then remove the checkmark from the "Enable hardware acceleration" checkbox in the Display tab.

    Then close and re-open the flash game to see whether or not disabling this option has noticeably sped up the game.

  • Flash Player out of date. More than one visitor to this site has contacted me about a game not working for them, only to find that their version of the Adobe Flash Player was too old to run the newer games properly.

    You can check to see if you are running the current version of Flash here:
    http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/find-version-flash-player.html.

    That page explains how to identify your Flash version and provides links to download a newer version of Flash if needed.

    If you just want to download and update your Flash player without bothering about researching your current version, you can get the latest Flash player version directly here: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

    INDICATIONS that your flash player may be out of date:

    - Games won't load

    - Games load but won't play

    - Keyboard commands don't work

    - Some animations in the game don't work

    - Images within the game are broken

    - Instructions or other words in the game are unreadable.

    Updating your flash player may resolve most of these issues.

  • Flash Player Out of Memory. If too much memory is being used by the browser and flash game, the game may abort. In place of the game, you may then see an exclamation point inside a circle.

    flash player exclamation
    Flash GCOD

    At the Adobe company (the makers of Flash), the exclamation point in the circle is affectionately known as the Gray Circle of Death (GCOD). The crash and GCOD isn't a problem "loading" the game but rather with the game crashing after it has loaded. The game may even run for awhile, but then it runs out of computer memory.

    If your games crash and you keep seeing the GCOD, try these steps:

    1. Upgrade your flash player to the latest version (see above).

    2. Adjust the settings in the flash player to allow larger storage.

      flash player
      Flash storage slider

      To do this, right click on the flash game and choose Settings from the right-click menu. This displays the Adobe Flash Player Settings window.

      Click the folder tab at the bottom of the Settings window if it isn't selected already. Drag the slider on the folder tab to the right to increase allowable storage.

      For example, if the storage setting is 100kb, move the slider to the right to 1MB or 10MB or larger.

    3. Close extra browser sessions and browser tabs when playing flash games.

    4. Empty your browser's temp files.

    5. Increase the flash player storage settings even further if possible. The maximum setting is "unlimited".

    Tip of the hat to the website Articulate.com for figuring out the GCOD troubleshooting steps.

  • JavaScript not enabled. Most of the games on this site are played in a pop-up window that opens when you click the Small, Medium, or Large link under the picture of the game. The game window can't open if you have javascript disabled in your browser.

    The vast majority of people these days do have javascript enabled. If yours happens to be turned off, and you want to enable it, try the following:

    Firefox browser: From the menu bar at the top of your Firefox window, select Tools > Options. This opens the Options window.

    Firefox options - enable javascript   Click the Content tab. If there is no checkmark in the "Enable JavaScript" box, click the box to place a checkmark in it. Click the OK button at the bottom of the window to save your settings.

    You can see in the image at left that I have the "Block pop-up windows" feature turned on. This does not affect the game pop-up windows on this site, so it is okay to have this feature enabled.

    (I believe that "block pop-up windows" feature is used to block automatic pop-up windows such those used in unsolicited pop-up advertising.)

    Internet Explorer browser: I find the security settings on Internet Explorer confusing (one of the many reasons I use Firefox instead) but supposedly here is the way to enable javascript on Internet Explorer:

    From the menu bar of your Internet Explorer window, select Tools > Internet Options. This opens the Internet Options window.

    Internet Explorer options - enable javascript   Click the Security tab. Click the Internet zone (picture of Earth with the word "Internet" underneath). Click the Custom Level button, which opens the Security Settings window (shown at left).

    Scroll down through the Settings box until you see "Active Scripting". Click the Enable radio button. Click the OK button to close the Security Settings window. Click the OK button to close the Internet Options window.

    If anyone can explain a better or simpler way to enable javascript in Internet Explorer, please send me a message through my Contact Me page.

    Other browsers: If you are using another browser such as Chrome, Safari, or Opera, please see your in-browser Help for instructions on enabling javascript.

  • Firewall or Anti-Virus blocking. If you still can't play the games, you might want to check the settings on your firewall or anti-virus software. ZoneAlarm, Comodo, Kaspersky, and Windows Firewall are examples of firewall programs, while Norton, McAfee, and Avast! Antivirus are examples of anti-virus programs. Refer to the help files in your firewall and antivirus software for further guidance.

  • Dual N-Back Training. If you are having problems viewing the Dual N-Back Training game, try a different browser. I had trouble with it in Internet Explorer (even with the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in installed), but the game works perfectly for me in FireFox and Google Chrome.

Google Chrome Keyboard Issues. I've noticed that my keyboard keys (letters, arrow keys, etc.) do not work in certain games on the Google Chrome browser. Assuming you've upgraded to the most recent version of Adobe Flash (see above), one solution is to open the game page in a different browser. So if you use Google Chrome and have problems with your keyboard not working in the games, try opening the game pages in FireFox, IE, or another browser.

Note: If you have the Google Chrome keyboard issue, please let me know about it. I am working on a fix for this issue.

If You Still Have a Problem

If you've followed the troubleshooting steps above but still think a game is broken, please report it to me through the form on my Contact Me page.

I would also be interested to know if you discover another browser setting or computer setting that you had to enable to get the games to work, other than those discussed above.

IMPORTANT.  You are responsible for any settings that you change on your own computer or browser and for any software that you install.

Do not change any settings unless you understand what you are doing, and never install any software unless you trust the company and website where you obtained it.

> > > > Problem Loading Games

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