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Headscratchers / Back to the Future: The Game

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  • The timeline eventually gets so messed up that the events of the movies never happened, up to and including the part about the time machine having been built in the first place. Shouldn't that cause a major Grandfather Paradox, making that version of the timeline unviable?
    • Delayed Ripple Effect works on time machines as well as time travelers.
      • Also it doesn't actually no longer exist, it still can be recreated! Plus the ending of the three games shows it still does exist.
  • Couldn't Doc and Marty just kill Edna in 1931 instead of having to go through a long sequence that leads to the planned break-up?
    • Right, because Doc and Marty are cold blooded killers who would be totally fine with straight up murdering someone. That's completely and totally consistent with their characters.
    • The time-stream would also take a way bigger hit if they did that.
      • Not to mention that the Doc who went with Marty was one who was married to Edna for years and was conflicted enough about ruining Young Emmett's and Edna's relationship that he ultimately turned against Marty in an attempt to salvage it. There's no way he would approve of killing her. And even putting aside all the aforementioned points, getting Emmett to break up with Edna served the purpose of getting Emmett to abandon Edna's suggestions and pursue the scientific pursuits that would set him on the same path as the original Doc. If Marty and Citizen Brown were to kill Edna while Emmett was still dating her, he would be too distraught over her death to pursue any scientific endeavors.
  • Also, why doesn't Marty just swap Emmett's mind-map with Kid's? Surely Kid must be a "Degenerate Criminal", and Emmett didn't even test Kid's mind-map when the break-up was about to happen. Why go through such a long sequence involving changing smells?
    • Maybe the punch card had some kind of identifier we couldn't make out printed on it. So switching them wouldn't work because Edna would have noticed, being the one to get Emmett to build the thing.
      • The explanation is even more simple than that. If you click on Kid's card, Marty examines it and notes that Kid's name is written on the card. Why you couldn't just get a blank card and punch holes in it to match Kid's is beyond me though.
      • Possibly Marty was worried about Emmett seeing him and derailing his plan.
  • In the third episode, Einstein and Doc disappear from the DeLorean wreck and we only see their alternate universe personas. But Marty never changes to his alternate personas throughout the series. Why does this affect Doc and Einstein, but not Marty?
    • Because Doc isn't Doc anymore. By going off with Edna instead of going to see Frankenstein, he is essentially preventing a fundamental aspect of his own Doc-ness. The moment he displays the mind map thing instead of the flying car, he stops being Doc Brown, and starts being First Citizen Brown. It just took until Marty hit 88 for the timeline to catch up to him. Marty didn't disappear because: a.) He didn't put his own existence in jeopardy, and b.) even if he had, it would have taken the timeline longer to catch up to him (due to being the last born), which gives him a chance to undo the damage.
      • The order of birth shouldn't matter since they traveled to a point when both Marty and Doc were alive. Plus Einstein had to have been born after Marty, given that dogs have shorter lifespans, so why was he erased and not Marty?
  • In the Telltale game, if the DeLorean was duplicated when it was hit by lightning and the duplicate was sent to a dystopian 2025 where Griff Tannen momentarily took possession of it, was Doc, who was inside the DeLorean at the time, also duplicated? If so, what happened to the duplicate? Did Griff kill him?
    • One episode is named Double Visions, and in the log in screen to play the game, you clearly see Doc, as the figurehead for that episode. Not that I have been the future or nothing, but I think this will be explained soon.
    • Why would the duplicated DeLorean have been sent to a dystopian 2025?
      • The lightning bolt sent the original seventy years into the past, the duplicate went seventy years into the future.
      • I think the above editor was questioning the "dystopian" part. There's been nothing to indicate that 2025 will be any worse than 2015.
      • One could only assume the future episodes will explain that part. The original 2015 no longer exists as of the end of the third film though either way.
      • I have a feeling that the "dystopian" reality is the one we see in Citizen Brown. I have a feeling that Marty will get help from Doc's duplicate in Double Vision.
      • He didn't. But maybe he'll pull a Past Max in Episode 5.
      • No alternate Doc appears. Perhaps just the Delorean was duplicated.
  • Telltale game again. Episode 3. When Marty finally gets in to see Citizen Brown, the latter shows him a picture from 1931 of Kid Tannen's arrest, and the former points out himself and the "real" Doc together in the gazebo in the background. If everything that's ever been established about photographs and time travel in this series is reliable, Doc if not both of them should have faded from that photograph long before Marty ever saw it!
    • Three words: Delayed Ripple Effect. Baring that, there's always this.
    • The reason the pictures changed in the movies was because the pictures were from the future, said future changing due to the alterations made. This particular picture was from the past, and the fact that that Doc was erased upon returning to 1986 doesn't change that fact that he was around in that timeline's 1931, since people still remember him, so he wouldn't fade from that picture.
  • In the Telltale game, the chain of disastrous alterations to the timeline starts with Marty going to the 17-year old Emmett Brown for his rocket drill, but all of that was completely unnecessary. The DeLorean was fully functional at that time, so why did Marty not just hop in and go to whichever point in time he needed to to get the tools to bust Doc out of jail? If there's nothing useful in Doc's lab in 1986, then jumping to 1955 or later and talking to a version of Emmett Brown who's already aware of time travel would be infinitely safer than pestering a teenager who hasn't even really decided to be a scientist yet. I get that this doesn't occur to Marty, who has trouble thinking 4-dimensionally, but why doesn't Doc think of it?
    • And if that opportunity was missed, then Marty could still have avoided involving Edna, effectively ending the game at Episode 2, if he'd just jumped to, say, 1989. Since the Marty of 1989 would be 21, he could just walk into a liquor store and buy the alcohol. This is of course assuming he has a form of ID on him that will work. This troper is not familiar with American liquor stores and the kinds of ID they take.
      • Marty's driver's license would be expired, but it would still have his date of birth on it. If the clerk at the counter was laid back enough he could probably still accept it since it's still proof that he's 21.
      • They're also in the middle of the prohibition. Alcohol is illegal. Other than Young Emmett, Marty's only other option is Kid Tannen.
    • Most likely Doc was afraid of causing more damage to the timeline and tried to limit the number of time travel trips.
  • In Episode 5, why didn't Marty tell Alt!Doc that his plan to get his younger self and Edna back together by making his younger self no longer interested in science, which in turn would cause the time-traveling DeLorean to no longer exist, cause a paradox? A universe-shattering one?
    • The Delorean seemed to last in the alternate timeline so there wasn't much additional risk of paradoxes, especially since the sequels and games seem chockfull of paradoxes that haven't destroyed the universe. Plus Marty isn't known for thinking fourth-dimensionally, he probably didn't think of that possibility. Not to mention that Citizen Brown doesn't know as much about time travel and is focused solely on his own interests, so he might not have believed it or cared.
  • When does this take place in Doc's timeline? The DeLorean still exists, there's no time-train, and Clara, Jules, and Verne aren't even involved. The DeLorean does have the hover conversion and Mr. Fusion, but wouldn't Doc have gotten those when he heard that Marty McFly Jr. was thrown in jail, and thus rushing back to 1985 to tell Marty?
    • This is after the third movie. Marty actually asks Doc about how he rebuilt the DeLorean and Doc replies that the lightning bolt that struck the car in 1955 created two copies of the car, one went 70 years back to 1885 and one went forward to 2025. This DeLorean is that one. He also mentions Jules, Verne, and Clara. Some of the dialog leads me to believe a considerable amount of time has passed. This would make sense as Doc had had some treatments done on his first trip to the future that added decades to his life (so that Christopher Lloyd could play the character without wearing the Old Doc makeup.) But Doc's mention of the visit he had planned to 2011 suggests that this character has aged back to where he is now to account for Lloyd sounding 25 years older.
  • In the very first episode of the game, why was Marty SO incredibly stupid as to only go back in time a day before Doc was gunned down? If he had gone a week back or hell, to be on the safe side, a whole month, most of the messed-up timeline crap afterward could've been completely avoided!
    • Marty isn't very good at thinking fourth-dimensionally. He's also the guy who once thought it was a good idea to leave the time machine alone with the door open and the keys in the ignition while he went off to look at an automated dog walker, which resulted in a timeline where his father was murdered, his mother was in an abusive marriage, and his best friend was committed to an insane asylum, so sometimes he's not very smart in general.
  • Why was the trip to 1885 undone in the Citizen Brown timeline? In the Biffhorrific timeline, Marty's initial trip to 1955 was maintained, as evidenced by Biff mentioning the manure truck incident and George having been an author, both of which occurred because of Marty's interference. This is despite the fact that it would have been impossible for 1985A Marty to travel back in time. The reason why it was maintained seems to be that the point of divergence of this timeline was November 12, 1955, while Marty had arrived on November 5. Nothing that old Biff could have done could change the fact that Marty had already been in 1955 for a week by the time old Biff arrived, unless he were to travel back to a date before November 5 and give young Biff the almanac then. So why is the 1885 trip undone if it took place before the Citizen Brown timeline's point of divergence in 1931?
  • Zemeckis and Gale described the timeline has only experiencing the effects of time travel after the trip to the past as taken place on a meta-time level. Therefore, in episode 5, when Marty gives Emmett the newspaper that inspired Emmett as Doc 55 years later to travel back to get Marty, he shouldn't experience the effects until 1986 of that timeline comes around and Doc travels back. So does that mean that in the timeline that episode 5 Doc came from, in which he had a good relationship with his father and returned to 1986, that there's a 72 year old "Michael Corleone/Harry Callaghan/Sonny Crocket" somewhere?
  • At the very end, three different future versions of Marty show up, all asking for him and Doc's help. But shouldn't at least two of them be in the process of fading away if their timeline isn't currently dominant?
    • Presumably, the ripple effect had not caught up with them yet.
    • The comic book Astro City addressed this phenomenon perfectly. In a story three future versions of a character showed up. All three of them existed because in rodenberrian physics terms the quantum states for the existence of each was equally probable at that moment in time. As the adventure progressed and events unfolded one faded away then another leaving the final, 'inevitable' future version.

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