Games not working? Troubleshooting Steps

Most of the old Adobe Flash games no longer work. See below for explanation. There are a few exceptions (see "Ruffle Flash" below).

For the current online games, please visit the Free Online Brain Games page.

Games not working?

GOOGLE CHROME (04/10/19): As of version 69 of Google Chrome, to play the Flash games in Chrome you must re-allow the Adobe Flash player every time you close and re-open the browser. For more information, see this page.

The page below provides troubleshooting steps in case you can't get the free brain games on this site to load.

Cube Field
Example Flash Game:
Cube Field

NOTE: Usually the fastest way to get playing quickly is to simply open the game page in a different browser than you normally use.

Most of the time if a game won't load, the problem is your browser or plug-ins in your browser. The browser or plug-in may be glitching, or not set up properly to run the games.

For example, if you normally use Internet Explorer, try opening the game page in Google Chrome or Firefox. If the game works in one browser but not the other, that means you likely have a browser issue.

Browser companies are always updating their code, and sometimes their changes mess up online games. That's why opening the game in another browser solves the problem 90% of the time.

If you need a different browser, here's where you can download the most common ones. They are all free, of course:

Where to Download Browsers:

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

For the best experience, play flash games on desktop rather than mobile.

If you want to try to actually fix the problem with your browser or its plug-ins, go through the detailed troubleshooting steps below.

Hint: Often the problem is with your Adobe Flash Player plug-in.

The flash player is a free plug-in that runs the games. You can check the status of your flash player on Adobe's website here:

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.

Detailed Troubleshooting: Check These Issues:

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 you're having issues, it might be due to one of the following:

  • Flash Player missing or disabled. Make sure you have the free Adobe Flash Player plug-in installed on your browser. If the flash player is installed and working properly, you'll 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.

    flash player
    Allow flash player auto-updates

    If you do not see the animation, you might not have the flash player installed on your browser. Or the flash player might be disabled - see below.

    Most of the games on this site are written in Flash software, and the flash player is needed to play them.

    During installation of the flash player, you should choose to allow Adobe to download and install updates automatically. That way, you will always have the most current flash player including security patches and bug fixes.

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

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

  • F5 (Refresh the Page). 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.

  • Just wait a bit. It might seem silly, but some glitches are temporary and resolve themselves. All you might need to do is wait awhile, then try the game again.

  • FLASH PLAYER DISABLED, or If your browser is trying to download the game to your computer (Google Chrome, Opera). I noticed in the Chrome and Opera browsers that if you have the Adobe flash player completely disabled, trying to open the game will cause your browser to try and download the .swf game file instead of loading the game so you can play it.

    To fix this, type chrome://plugins or opera://plugins into the Chrome or Opera address bar. This opens the Chrome or Opera plugins management screen. Turn on the flash player by clicking the "Enable" link in the Adobe Flash Player section. This should resolve the problem.

    Most likely the same is true for other browsers. Go to the plug-in settings page of whichever browser you are using, and enable the Adobe Flash Player (or install the flash player if you don't have it - see above).

  • 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:

    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:

    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 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.

Published: 09/05/2011
Last Updated: 06/11/2020

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Reproduction without permission is prohibited