Weekly Tangent – Why Games Don’t Always Work and Troubleshooting Tips For If They Don’t


Hello ‘Tangenter!

Running into issues with a game is unusual, but it does happen. Believe me, though, having something not work is never the intention!

Happy blonde with laptopIt’s important to us, at WildTangent Games, and our partner developers that you have the best possible experience.  However, between a game’s initial creation and getting it to play on your home computer there are a wide number of things that can cause your game to either not play or have performance issues. Problems will differ from game to game and, especially, computer to computer!

Think of it this way, each computer is like a unique ecosystem. We, and the developers, try to make sure that issues don’t occur, but… sometimes that’s just not possible.

Basically, creating and distributing a game (especially on the PC) is like releasing an animal into a bazillion (that’s an official number) different habitats. The vast majority of the time (and due to careful and exhaustive testing) the critter will be fine, but in certain circumstances, the new environment needs just a couple tweaks to ensure the creature’s survival (or playability).

Here’s why:

Click on each tab for more information.

What Can Cause Issues

There are a huge number of different computer parts out there in the wild – games or game engines will sometimes conflict with particular pieces (video cards, sound cards, processors, etc.) or versions of pieces in a machine. Sometimes a very particular combination of components causes the issue.
Software can also cause a game to struggle. It’s not unusual for antivirus programs or firewalls to block a game. Outdated hardware drivers (the software that allows different components of the computer to work in your machine) can also make a game glitchy.

What it boils down to is that, as software makers, we won’t know the exact environment that the game will be running in. For example, sometimes another program will compete for computing resources and the results aren’t always happy programs humming along like they’re intended to.

Specific combinations of hardware components and software can lead to issues with a game playing (or not).
As computer components and software programs get older, developers (and service providers) can’t ensure that new software will work on aging parts because they might have different requirements than more modern components. If a manufacturer stops supporting a particular piece of hardware or a developer stops supporting their software (this is common with older operating systems) then it’s no longer a viable component to develop for.

So, this means it’s possible that a game made last month may not play well on a computer that was made 7 years ago.

Computer equipment

Phew! That’s why most games will work perfectly (like they’re supposed to), but the occasional game will act funny.

The good thing is that you can control quite a lot about your PC to make it much more likely that a game will work.  It’s teamwork between you and the developers!

The following are a few common issues that we see and that you can fix at home.  We want you to have your fun as fast as possible!

If you’ve tried these and you’re still having trouble with a game, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly and helpful Customer Support team. They really know their stuff!

Troubleshooting Your Game

These are listed from the most to least reported of the common issues. Start from the top and see if you can find your game’s issue in one of the “symptoms” boxes. However, don’t be discouraged if the first solution doesn’t fix the issue you’re seeing… many behaviors can have different causes in the software world and you may need to tune a couple different parts of your PC before you see results.

Each solution has a link to a forum post that describes how to perform each fix.


  • Your game doesn’t start
  • You don’t receive your free trial
  • You see a WildCoin or “K” error
Try: Adjusting the settings on your security software. Security software can block a game or the game service.

  • Your game doesn’t start when you click “Play” in WildTangent Games
  • Your game doesn’t start when you insert a WildCoin
  • Your game crashes
  • Your game acts strangely
Try: Reinstalling your game. This will often fix the issue because game files can become corrupt during download or installation.

  • Your game won’t start
  • Your game crashes
Try: Updating Adobe Flash and Internet Explorer. Your game uses both of these programs, so they need to be up-to-date.

  • Your game starts, but doesn’t show anything
  • Your game crashes randomly
  • The game is visually distorted
Try: Updating the video drivers. The video drivers help the computer display your game on the screen. Older video cards are especially prone to visual glitches when playing newer games.

  • You get an “unable to unlock game” message for a game you own (not rent)
Try: Entering the unlock code with all upper case letters and appropriate hyphens. Each game you own must be unlocked (often this is automatic) or it will continue to ask for WildCoins. Sometimes you must enter the code manually.

If you’re still getting an “unable to unlock” message, then you may be out of uses – you receive 4 unlocks per game. Contact Customer Support if you’re still having this issue.

These are the most common issues our Customer Support team sees. And, taking these steps might just get you gaming the way you want to (and the way we want you to):  Happily!

If you’re still having trouble, though, feel free to contact our fantastic Customer Support team here.

Good luck, happy gaming and let me know if you have any additional questions in the comments!


P.S.  Special thanks go out to the Customer Support Team for all their help with this post!!!

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14 Responses to “Weekly Tangent – Why Games Don’t Always Work and Troubleshooting Tips For If They Don’t”

  1. Sharon Brauchle June 8, 2014 at 8:19 PM #

    I bought two games The Pop It Show and Polar golf 2 years ago and they worked up until the first week of June 2014 now they say it’s terminated in and unusual way ? What would cause that ??? I own the CD’s and i can’t use them now ???? They told me to contact APP. support to find out why this will not play. I’d like and answer soon. We uninstalled them and installed them again and got the same answer.

    • Mari June 9, 2014 at 8:46 AM #

      Hi Sharon,

      I’m sorry to hear you’re having issues with these games.

      Our Customer Support Team will be happy to give you some one-on-one help. You can contact them here: http://bit.ly/1hTnM8h

  2. Timothy July 11, 2014 at 3:20 PM #

    this is not to reply is more less a request for help.I’ve down loaded wildtangent but every time I try to play a game it says Internet Explorer cannot open the internet site, operation aborted.can you help me

  3. manny July 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM #

    Having the same problems as the other players who play wildtangent. It says the same thing Internet explorer cannot open the internet site and than it asks me to abort. I tryed to upgrade to internet explorer 9 but there was a comparison. help.

    • Mari July 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM #


      I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with Internet Explorer. We have a short article about updating it here.

      If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Support Team here. They’ll be happy to help you!


      • manny July 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM #

        Thank you for your reply. It helps.

        • Mari July 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM #

          You’re very welcome!

  4. Zuuu August 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM #

    I can’t install Zuma Deluxe. I run the .exe, it shows up in my taskmanager for ~20 seconds, then vanishes. Nothing happens.

    • Mari August 11, 2014 at 8:56 AM #


      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having issues with Zuma Deluxe.

      You have a couple of options.

      If you want to troubleshoot on your own, you can check out our Help Center and see if you can find the answer there.

      If you want one-on-one support, then please contact our Customer Support Team (with all the details that you mentioned here).


  5. David October 11, 2014 at 12:53 PM #

    The Hp Games Crashed After I Uninstalled some games then downloaded some.Please help.
    The Games I Installed (free trial)
    Game Of Life
    Nancy Drew
    Fate Series

  6. Sal May 11, 2015 at 7:02 PM #

    i have this code for Plants vs zombies for a year now and since i restarted my whole laptop like five months ago and now i can’t unlock it, i have the code exactly as it used to but why doesn’t it work ?

    • Mari May 12, 2015 at 8:12 AM #

      Hi Sal,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your code. Please contact our Customer Support Team here. They’ll be able to help you out. :)


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