A Short History of the World

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Rating: 3.5/5 (131 votes)

TrickyA Short History Of The WorldI think that everyone, if only for a second, has considered the possibilities of traveling through time: chilling with mammoths in the ice age, cracking a joke or two with Mona Lisa, dialing up Alexander Graham Bell, taking one or two small steps with Neil Armstrong... Sadly, we don't have the budget for a TARDIS, an Epoch or even a DeLorean, and even if we did, we'd probably end up having to deal with those friggin' morlocks. So it's up to State Of Play to offer us the next best thing: the fast-paced reflex-testing microgame-fest that is A Short History Of The World.

A Short History of the World plays like many of its WarioWare-styled bretheren. Controlled entirely with the mouse, you are presented with a historical scenario and a task to accomplish in a set amount of time. You must "drag, draw, chop, rotate and shoot" to the satisfaction of the game and before time runs out, or else you will lose one of your four lives. The quicker you are, the more points you score and it's on to the next game, a little bit forward in time. Checkpoints are available every ten levels, and there are thirty-six games to complete. After you finish, you are given one of four ranks, depending on your score. Now get going! Time's a wasting!

A Short History of the World plays well, despite a few snags. Granted, most of those concerns might stem from my side of the screen: A few of the minigames, especially ones requiring tracing of some sort, felt unforgiving to my uncoordinated hand-eye. The fact that the microgames are always chronological means that you are given repeated chance to practice, but also cannot avoid a situation that repeatedly causes a life-losing. That said, while the lack of randomization may seem antithetical to the concept of the microgame, I liked Short History's not-quite-historically accurate 36-stop trip to the present. It's not quite a plot, but it does give it a sense of progression that other games of its genre lack.

While the mechanics may be too finicky for some tastes, there's a lot to like about A Short History of the World. The premise is engagingly brilliant, and the artistic styling of the levels, while appropriately varied, is beautiful. You'll make ample use of the checkpoints throughout, but still persevere on to the present day. This is a game that's made for passing time.

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Walkthrough Guide

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A Short History Of The World Walkthrough

10000 BC

Click each of the blocks of ice to free the mammoth. It may help to start at the top and work your way down.

8000 BC

Click the stick of wood in the middle, and drag it across the other stick as quick and as many times as possible. Flame will come.

3200 BC

Click the outline of the wheel and trace around it, ending at the red circle where you started. This requires a steady hand, so don't think about the time limit too much. Also, make sure you release the mouse... otherwise it won't register.

2600 BC

Click and drag the stones onto the center of the henge below it. They'll stones will be easier to control if you grab them near their center dot.

2200 BC

Just like 2600 BC: grab the blocks in the middle and drag to complete the pyramid. Don't be afraid to smash them into each other.

1200 BC

Drag and drop the men in the Trojan Horse. Be quick. In the current version you can grab one of the soldiers before the countdown starts. This is probably a bug, but it doesn't mean you can't use it. :-)

766 BC

Click the exact center of the crosses on the screen to guide your torch carrier. This one is unforgiving.

500 BC

Drag your solidier around and swing your sword by clicking. Furious clicking might be better than precision here.

200 BC

Drag the jugs of water, and release them at the top of Archimedes' bath.

220 BC

Huh... we've gone back in time. Anyways, click and draw the great wall in one good motion that hits points 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.


Click the red circle and drag it around in a clockwise circle to bring the vikings to shore. No shortcuts: the movement must be circular.


Isn't this off by 30 years? Like the torch-carrier level, click the x's to sail Columbus across the ocean. Time it to avoid the sea monsters.


Paint by number Mona Lisa! Click the paint points, then click the appropriate area on the painting. This can be done in any order.


Remember Shakespeare? Click and drag the woman to the balcony and the man to the stage.


Clicking and drawing the Taj Mahal is only easier than building it. Just do your best, and don't stray too far from the outline.


Click the apples and they'll fall on Newton's head. Work from right to left.


Just like the Vikings, grab the red circle and turn the crank 10 times. Be quick!


Play Fur Elise! You know? Da-da-da-da-da-do-da-da-da. Click the lit key in order to play.


Click those two rows of cannons down the line: left, right, left, right, left right.


Drag/draw the telephone wire through the underground tunnel. This one is very unforgiving about straying off the path, so watch out.


Click on each of the lights to turn them all on. They won't stay on for long though. This may be one you have to tab-spacebar to get by without losing a life.


Grab the pieces of the Eiffel Tower in the center and stack them out. The tower will be especially wobbly.


Yep, ten more clockwise drags of the circle to start the car. Except now with less time.


Click on your flags to make your way to the south pole. Time it to avoid the polar bear, and only click the flag by the ice bridge when it's there.


Click and drag the telescope circle around, and click on the iceberg when you find it. Sometimes it can be small and far away, and other times up close.


Click Kong's left and right hands to smash all ten planes out of the sky. Each fist will take a little to reset, so be sure to time it right. If you let one plane pass you by, it's all over.


Hold down the mouse to shoot, and drag the plane up and down to take out 20 eneimes. Keep moving.


You can do anything, but stay off of those blue suede shoes... by keeping the mouse in constant movement and clicking.


Again, keep the mouse away from the nuke button. But, being the cold war, it's even harder to keep away from than those shoes.


Click the moon footprints as they appear. There are only 8 steps to click, but they get smaller and smaller.


Space Invaders! Click and move to take them out. Try to wipe out the shields with your bullets before they show up... they'll only block you otherwise.


Mr. Player... tear down that wall! By clicking like there's no tomorrow!


With a single dragged line, connect the dots. Make sure you release the mouse when you make it to the last one.


Like many other levels, digging the chunnel requires fast clicking. However the target keeps moving to the right. Don't stop until the all the lights are up.


Sheep will start appearing all over the place, and you must click 20 of them. Look for the red as soon as you've clicked the one before.


Just like 1996, but faster. Click those solar pannels as they come up... Now you can look to the future!


Way too hard to do with a trackpad.

hothotpot March 2, 2011 11:59 AM

Fun but very glitchy. More than once when I clicked back on the screen from having paused, the "game over" title came up, but the game was still running in the background. I could not click "replay from checkpoint" and the game just continued on in the background, forcing me to restart. I really wanted to reach the end of the game but that's happened enough times I don't think I'll be able to. Oh well.

Anonymous March 2, 2011 4:12 PM

The game is mean it told me to "Lose a Life" XD
The is good but yeah it's sometimes glitchy, only thing is... Mochi!!

Littleghost March 2, 2011 6:00 PM

I'm on a tablet, which I use to DRAW on, which means I've got decent hand-eye coordination and I'm still having a lot of problems. Interesting concept and good art, but needs tweaking.


I get nothing but a progress bar on a black background. It gets stuck right at 100%.


Cool game! I used my tablet too. I don't think I could beat it with a mouse.


Whenever I try to go back and play from the last checkpoint I just get a black screen and then LOSE A LIFE after however many seconds that level was.

From the other comments it seems they need to work a few other bugs too. I love the concept and game play though.


Won't load for me? Just get a black screen with a loading bar going nowhere.


I also get the purple loading bar on the black screen. The browser (Firefox) says it is "Done" loading, but nothing happens.


It isn't even working on mochigames.com, but I managed to find a site.

I simply cannot get Archimedes' Bath, the Wheel, the Olympic Torch, then I die on Columbus' Journey.

There's checkpoints? Where!?

SkylerF March 3, 2011 1:31 PM

A very badly executed game. The precision is TERRIBLE.

1/5 because I can't figure out how to give 0/5


This is the first game I've ever ragequit on! Aarrgh! So many of the minigames make you lose lives even if you've completed them...like the great wall one.

Nice concept and graphics, but the the menu and sensitivity of the game are AWFUL! Why doesn't it allow you to begin from a checkpoint from the main menu?

MrTriviaMan12 March 4, 2011 6:40 AM

I like it but too glitchy. And as a history lover I think the author of this game forgot some eras of world history. Where's Charlemagne when you need him?


Ummm, there seems to be some minigames listed in "Tips and Tricks" that I did not encounter in the game. Namely, the defending England one and the Pop-Art one. What's up with this?

Dave Lopo March 5, 2011 3:44 PM

JIG, your ads really should be moved on this game. More than once I've died because of the bad placement of ads so close to the screen, and I accidentally clicked them.

That makes me hate your advertisers and never use their product so think about that :3

[Thank you for the feedback, and I'm sorry for the annoyance. The ads are so very important to the site, though. Without them we wouldn't be able to exist. -Jay]

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmAWR5NUh1XIEI8Ei2ZhstR43yN4bbo_II June 8, 2012 11:44 AM

@SkylerF: The Bath one isn't that hard.

The Great Wall is impossible, Columbus' journey doesn't give you enough time, the rowing one is wayyy to sensitive, the taj mahal is really hard in that little amount of time...composing Beethoven's piece in five seconds and starting the Industrial revolution in five, too? Really?

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmAWR5NUh1XIEI8Ei2ZhstR43yN4bbo_II June 8, 2012 11:46 AM

Actually, the great wall isn't that tough with some practice. Sorry bout that. But the checkpoints should definitely be closer together.


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