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Video Game / Back to the Future: The Game
aka: Back To The Future

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In December of 2010, over twenty years after the last Back to the Future film came out, Telltale Games had developed an episodic Point-and-Click game series — which involves both Bob Gale and Christopher Lloyd, the latter of who would be reprising his role as "Doc" Emmett L. Brown. The first episode, which begins a new chapter in the Back to the Future series, was released on PC and Mac in December 2010 to solid reviews, and subsequent episodes have been equally well received. Its plot revolves around working with a young Emmett Brown to save Doc from Prohibition-era Hill Valley and how Marty's efforts accidentally create a new timeline.

Not to be confused with the Nintendo Entertainment System game, which is In Name Only and a perfect example of The Problem with Licensed Games.

Also not to be confused with Marty and Doc Brown's appearance in LEGO Dimensions.


This game provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In Episode 3, Marty's brother, David, is said to be working for a newspaper in a big city and his sister, Linda, is said to be in a womens' boarding house. Marc McClure played Marty's brother in the movies, and also played Jimmy Olsen in Superman. Wendie Jo Sperber co-starred in Bosom Buddies, set in an woman-only hotel. As an added bonus, both actors played these roles before the first movie came out.
    • Young Emmett says his flying car idea will make traffic jams a thing of the past, which is the same thing Judge Doom - another character played by Christopher Lloyd - said about his freeway idea.
    • It turns out Trixie Trotter is Canadian and Marty's grandmother. Michael J. Fox is Canadian.
  • Adorkable: 1931 Emmett Brown; who was quite the eccentric Wide-Eyed Idealist when he was a young man. Some things never change.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • How Marty wins back alt-1986!Jennifer, an anti-establishment punk rock chick. In this timeline, she thinks Marty is a complete tool.
    • And, in the final episode, Edna of all people: We see four different versions of an elderly Edna. One is mildly out-of-touch with reality. One is completely out of touch with reality. One turns Hill Valley into a complete police state. The only genuinely happy and well-adjusted version of her? The one who winds up marrying the gangster.
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  • Angrish: Judge Brown's lecture to Emmett near the climax of Episode 1 is nonsensical as one puzzle sequence (trying to make fuel for a rocket powered drill while 1931!). Emmett tries to give directions to Marty indirectly by enunciating certain words and phrases in his conversation - for example, "Can't you see the PRESSURE I'm going through?", refers to letting pressure of a valve) begins. As it advances, you start hearing Judge's Brown's voice more clearly- while also enunciating most of the same words - which is designed to confuse and disorient you into unintentionally listening to both of them- thus making a mistake.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • 1931!Edna is the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety, willing to destroy property and other people's livelihoods, but doing so in the genuine belief that she's doing the right thing. Averted with the older version we see in the Citizen Brown timeline, who quickly crosses the line into outright villainy.
    • Surprisingly enough, Beauregard Tannen is this by comparison to most of his descendants. He apparently isn't that nice of a person (although we only have Edna's word to go by on that), but he is trying to run an honest business, and only threatens to shoot Edna in response to her trying to burn down his saloon.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The explanation of how the DeLorean that comes for Marty isn't destroyed. Apparently, according to Doc, the malfunctioning time circuits in the second movie created two DeLorean's; one was the one that Doc was in and got sent to 1885, and the other was unmanned and got sent sometime after 2015. Doc managed to recover it before Griff found it.
  • Arcadia: Edna perversely views the 1800s as this, even burning down Beauregard Tannen's saloon (after which the fire winds up spreading to the rest of Hill Valley) to preserve it.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Kid Tannen is arrested in Episode 2 for kidnapping, attempted murder, tax evasion, and smelling like a piece of crap.
    • Edna Strickland is arrested in Episode 5 for arson, resisting arrest, and being a general all-around pain in the ass.
  • Bad Future: Played for Laughs: THREE Martys from the future arrive in 1986 to ask Doc for help at sorting out their timelines, but it's never made clear which one is the Bad Future.
  • Bag of Holding: Marty is able to carry everything in his pocket, even a full-sized guitar!
    • At one point he pockets a can of oil, which he hopes none of which will get on his guitar.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In Episode 2, after Trixie goes up to the alley to speak to Artie, Kid Tannen then follows her. We then hear a gunshot and Trixie runs downstairs crying, which causes Marty to go upstairs and sees a patch of blood... only for Kid to show up and reveal that he didn't shoot Artie; he just shot his gun in the air and the blood was from a nosebleed Artie had.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: After Officer Parker recovers from his Heroic BSoD thanks to Marty's intervention and Trixie's singing, he promises the former that he won't get him arrested for attending a speakeasy.
  • Big Bad: Kid Tannen in the first two episodes. Edna Strickland starts out as something of an annoyance, but then assumes this role from Episode 3 onwards.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: In Episode 3, "Big Brother" is Citizen Brown. Though it's really Citizen Edna who pulls the strings.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In Episode 2, Doc drops Marty off at his house and drives away in the DeLorean — only to come back and knock Kid Tannen's limo away just before the old gangster can shoot Marty dead.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Douteux" means "doubtful", foreshadowing Jacques Douteux's diving suit being used as a disguise by Citizen Brown.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The implications of erasing an alternate timeline — along with Citizen Brown's life experiences — are explored in Episode 4. Not to mention all of the underhanded things Marty does to preserve history.
  • Bland-Name Product: There is a scene at the mall in the first episode, but one of the stores there is "JPPinney. (JC Penney)"
    • Also, 1986!Biff's Jumpsuit has an "Adods" (Addidas) logo.
    • In Episode 3, George McFly has a "Pepson" (Epson) brand printer. And Leech's amplifier is a "Heavey".
    • A guard in Episode 4 is seen drinking from a can of soda named Alt (as opposed to Tab).
    • In Episode 5, Marty's hoverboard has an "Attell" logo on it, which is still the same shape, but in a different font and the M removed.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: In Episode 2, alt-1986 Biff intimidates Marty with a gold pistol. Subverted when it turns out to be a novelty lighter.
  • Blown Across the Room: Same scene as the first movie, this time Biff does it. Marty tries it again in Episode 4, but it doesn't have the expected effect.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The second main puzzle the game gives you is using Edna to find out when in time Doc is. One of the last puzzles is using (an elderly) Edna again to find out how Hill Valley was destroyed.
    • The end of the first and last episodes involves Marty maneuvering his way around a car as it drives along a highway.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: (Episode 3) The "Citizen Plus" program makes people physically incapable of bad behavior (they become nauseous if they even think about alcohol, violence, etc); they can also be turned into mindless drones acting on Edna's orders, as Biff demonstrates.
  • Break the Haughty: Episode 5 shows that both Edna Strickland and Kid Tannen got their atrocious personalities taken down a peg and resulted in the two becoming a loving couple who Took a Level in Kindness.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you select Marty at the start of "Citizen Brown", while the DeLorean is still stuck in the billboard:
    Marty: Don't worry, everybody, I'm okay, the billboard broke my fall.
  • Brutal Honesty: Marty uses this on young Emmett to break him out of his depression.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Marty: (looking at a bathysphere) "It's some kind of...deep-sea diving thingy."
  • Burger Fool: Soup kitchens never went out of style in alt-1986. Marty's rival for love, Leech, works here as an attendee.
  • But Thou Must!: Episode 4: There's no way to avoid telling Citizen Brown that Edna will be sad and lonely in the true timeline, and thus making him do a Face–Heel Turn.
    • Episode 1: When trying to get young Emmett to build the rocket-powered drill for you, the dialogue tree gives you the options of "I need that rocket drill," "I REALLY need that rocket drill," and "I REALLY REALLY need that rocket drill." Regardless of what you pick, the scene plays the same.
  • Call-Back:
    • Episode 1 begins with the first time travel trip of the DeLorean from the first film, recreating it line by line before ominously deviating from the film. The player can still alter some of Marty's dialog during this sequence... Though you miss a Trophy if you do this.
    • In Episode 3 when you are scanning Edna's secret room room for things to snap Biff out of X-11 mode, you come across "Pinball parts". A lot of the bits in there look like components of the DeLorean Time Machine's interface (like the yellow number readout that's part of the where you're going/are/where readout dash). Looks like the Libyans didn't get all of Doc's old pinball machine parts...
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Emmett does this to his father, Judge Brown, at the end of episode 1 and mid-way in episode 5.
  • Came Back Wrong: At the start of Episode 4, it appears that Citizen Brown's personality has reverted to the Doc that we're all familiar with. As the episode progresses however, it turns out that for one thing his scientific knowledge isn't at the same level it was previously, resulting in him making defective repairs to the DeLorean, and more problematically he's still in love with Edna, to the point where he's willing to rewrite his own past to ensure that they still end up together.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: "RELAX! WE'VE GOT EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL."
  • Catapult Nightmare: Marty awakening in bed after the prologue.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Despite expressing his dread of "Scary Mary", Willie McFly turns up to rescue Marty and Doc at Crazy!Edna's shack, mentally throwing her off so he can get close enough to grab her shotgun barrel before she can fire.
  • The Chanteuse: Trixie Trotter. It even says so on Zane's poster.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Many inventory items come up repeatedly in unexpected ways; some sooner (even in the same episode), some later.
    • The handheld tape recorder you find in the DeLorean when it does its emergency return at the beginning of Episode 1 is used twice; once to record Young Doc's scientific ramblings for Old Doc to hear and solve, and again to record Kid Tannen's angry ranting in order to flush Artie out.
    • Marty's Ripple Effect Indicator picture of dear ol' Dad comes in useful again when he needs to make Trixie think that Kid Tannen reneged on his deal and killed Artie anyway by having Zane do a caricature sketch of George, complete with stylin' hat and then post it on "The Wall" (of people Kid had killed).
    • The paddy wagon tire iron from Episode 1 and the speakeasy panic button from Episode 2 both make surprise reappearances in Episode 3.
    • Marty's guitar briefly shows up as part of a quickly-forgotten puzzle in Episode 1. It pops up again in Episodes 3 and 4.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Marty first travels to 1931, he interrupts a shootout between a police officer and a criminal. The police officer is Danny Parker, Jennifer's grandfather and one of the more important characters in episodes 2 and 5.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Art and Trixie, to allow her to work at the Expo. It's implied that it was a convenient excuse to get married, since they were falling in love during the previous episodes anyway.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Edna. By the time Episode 5 rolls around, Marty exclaims, "Jeez, that lady was always a loon!"
  • Close-Enough Timeline:
    • After Marty's interactions with teenage Emmett in Episode 1 causes a slight change in his timeline where he now had the audacity to perform public experiments and prematurely pursues his rocket car plan which troubles Doc initially, but shrugs it off since despite this change, he'll eventually doubt his idea of using rockets and go watch Frankenstein where the iconic lightning scene will give him an idea, scrapping the rocket plan and use an electricity-based mode of propulsion for his car.
    • In the end, after all is said and done, the only real changes to the timeline are that Doc never went to the Speakeasy in 1931 because the Arsonist (Edna) was caught; has set up semi-permanent residence in Hill Valley in his lab, and Edna and Kid Tannen, despite both being a Big Bad of the adventure, are Happily Married. Also the fact that Doc's set up said residence instead of living elsewhere; because Marty's meddling in his past allowed him to better reconcile with his father. He's there to run a foundation set up in his father's name for young inventors.
  • Continuity Cameo: Michael J. Fox as Marty's great-grandfather (and future selves) in Episode 5.
  • Continuity Porn: There are a great number of references to the movies, ranging from the dialogue and details of locales from the movie, to references to events that occurred but were never shown or showcased.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Episode 3. Marty notes how the new Hill Valley is clean and in order, but as his father points, he has recordings of all the civilians complaining about Citizen Brown's regime.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Edna early (late?) in Episode 1. And Episode 5.
  • Crossdresser: Vice Principal Strickland, apparently.
    • It should be noted, he only did this as a child. Though he did do it more than once.
    • And it should be also noted that back as late as in the early 20th century it was normal for little boys to wear dresses.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: To save the future, Marty pretty much obliterates Emmett's life in the span of two minutes.
    • He also has to deliberately get Trixie fired from her job (by an incredibly smug Edna, no less!) to ensure that she'll agree to help Marty break up Edna and Emmett. Though, thankfully, she gets her job back in Episode 5 thanks to a loophole Arthur found.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: As shown in Episode 1, Doc ends up in jail in 1931 after being knocked out during the speakeasy explosion. The whole reason he traveled back to 1931 was to figure out who started it, to satisfy his curiosity. And also to find information on Marty's grandmother, who he figured he'd find in that era, for a scrapbook on the McFly family history.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • Suspecting Marty of being a snitch, Alt-1986 Jennifer threatens to shove her spray can up...somewhere.
    • Biff in episode 3: "What the F—aauuugh!"
  • Darker and Edgier: Episode 3, "Citizen Brown", from start to finish. Up to Eleven in Episode 4
  • Darkest Hour: In episode 5, when Citizen Brown gets run over and is despondent that Edna Brown is a despotic busybody at the core of her being, Marty gets to see him die and fade out of existence. It starts to pick back up from the low note once Young Emmet comes out of the expo hall in a cloud of smoke from his exhibit's spectacular failure sporting a more classic Einsteinian hairstyle. He starts prattling off in mad scientist rambling, and we get a sense that things are going to be okay. After the "don't read it until" scene happens, Good Ol' (for the most part) Doc comes back in time, now fully aware of who "<Insert The Pop Culture Fake Identity You Chose>" really was/is, showing that everything is okay. Until Edna happens again. But at least Marty has "his" Doc with him again to set things straight!
  • Dark Reprise:
    • The BttF instrumental theme has an imperious tone in the alternate Hill Valley.
    • Emmett's sad rendition of "I Don't Care" on the roof of the courthouse.
  • Dating Catwoman: Artie McFly has been interested in Kid Tannen's girl Trixie Trotter for quite some time. Marty is trying to get her to pull a Heel–Face Turn in order for her to provide information against Kid. It turns out that their relationship also confirms the existence of Marty's family since she was his grandmother.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Citizen Brown!Doc makes Marty seriously question if it's right to get the timeline back to normal when that involves destroying the life of someone who was better off in the altered timeline. However, it's ultimately clear that changing it back really is the right thing to do, since said person was dangerously insane even before the point of divergence, and her happiness required everyone else's misery. The fact that the Close-Enough Timeline was better even for her because she ended up having to be rehabilitated in jail was a happy accident on Marty's part.
  • Dirty Cop: Officer Danny Parker starts working for Kid Tannen in Episode 2 after getting demoted and dumped by his girlfriend.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Kid Tannen serves as the main antagonist for the first two episodes of the game. Then after his arrest, episode 3 comes in and proceeds to reveal Edna as the real Big Bad of the game's storyline. Not only is she now threatening Hill Valley's existence, but she's also the one that caused the speakeasy to burn down, inadvertently resulting in all the crap that Marty and Doc had to go through with Kid Tannen in the first place.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Young Emmett's white suit, a gift from Edna. Zig-zagged by his invention of a surefire method to remove dirt stains, which Marty then converts into acid.
  • Double Entendre: The Episode 1 title, "It's About Time", which can be interpreted as Marty's reaction to seeing Doc again, as well as the widespread reaction to news of a new Back to the Future game. (Or a good one anyway.) It could also be a case of Exactly What It Says on the Tin - aka "It (the game) is about time."
  • Downer Ending: Episode 3, "Citizen Brown". Even for a cliffhanger, it's pretty dark. And there's Episode 4.
  • The Dragon: Biff to Citizen Edna, against his will.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In the game's prologue, Marty reenacts the Twin Pines mall scene in his dreams — only this time, the DeLorean carrying Einstein doesn't come back, and the mall's fixtures start disappearing. This doesn't make sense until Episode 5, when Edna Strickland erases Hill Valley from history.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Marty dressing up as a diminutive gangster and (later) in riot gear.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Danny in Episode 2. See Dirty Cop above.
  • Dumb Blonde: Trixie Trotter, Kid's moll, is a subversion. She turned in Kid Tannen and her plan to get 1931!Edna to break up with Emmett was pretty clever.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After repeatedly altering history, creating worse and worse timelines up to the point of causing Hill Valley to cease to exist, the final timeline at the end of Episode 5 mirrors the state of things at the beginning of the series for the most part, and the noteworthy differences cause those involved to be better off.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo:
    • Principal Strickland as a young child, who just couldn't help dressing himself up in his mother's clothes and jewelry.
    • Trixie, the "Winsome Wench of Winnipeg". (Canadian porn is kinda weird.)
  • Enhance Button: Played embarrassingly straight in episode 4.
  • Epic Fail: While in 1876, Edna tried to burn down Hill Valley's saloon since her grandfather wouldn't do anything about it. ...this ended up burning down all of Hill Valley.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: There's a reason Einstein is seen harassing Edna Strickland in 1931 and 1986-Alternate, although we don't find out why until well into Episode 3.
  • Evil Old Folks: Edna Strickland. Who is still the Big Bad even at the oldest age.
  • Exact Words:
    • After the DeLorean gets stuck a billboard, Marty cries at alt-1986!Jennifer to "Give me a hand!" She responds with a golf clap.
    • While riding alongside the stolen DeLorean, Marty claws his way onto one of gull wing doors and demands that Edna open up. "You want in? FINE!" she snarls back, then elbows the door open, sending Marty flying.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Doc's Hand Wave for why he didn't recall meeting Marty in the thirties.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Emmett's success (sort of) at the science expo results in him gaining his trademark electrified 'do.
  • Exty Years from Now: Downplayed; it's Exty-Five Years From Now. Marty travels back 55 years to 1931 throughout Episodes 1 and 2 and it was hinted that he'd travel forward 25 years to 2011, the year of the final episode's release. Sadly, that didn't pan out. Then you have 1876, which is 55 years before 1931.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In Episode 4, Citizen Brown voices his dissatisfaction with Marty's plan to "fix" the timeline since it means Edna ends up a Crazy Cat Lady. Episode 5 shows that he blames science and not Edna for the Orwellian 1986, and he teams up with 1931! Edna to try and sabotage Marty's efforts and his own younger self's interest in science to ensure that he married Edna after all. He kidnaps his younger self and traps him inside a bathysphere while Edna gets Officer Parker to shut down young Emmett's booth and try to arrest Marty.
  • The Faceless: Jacques Douteux.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: Several clues are given throughout all five episodes that hint to the true identity of the Speakeasy Arsonist.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: The bootlegging ring definitely qualifies, as does the "Tannen Mob" in Marty's corrupted present. Public enemy no.... five.
  • Fictional Counterpart: There is a "Soupmo" in alternate 1986 in Episode 3.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The prologue dream features both Doc doing a "disrupted timeline fade-out", features the notebook full of time travel theory notes (and that all-important Flux Capacitor blueprint sketch), and talking about a "minor miscalibration in the time circuits". All three become plot coupons/events in the course of the five episodes.
    • Almost every objects in Doc's garage in Episode 1 will be used in some way. For example, there's a Frankenstein (1931) poster in Marty's room in Episode 1.
    • Doc's mind-reading helmet from the original film makes a reappearance in his lab, but it turns out to be more than just a Mythology Gag.
    • Edna Strickland of 1986 in Episode 1 spies on all the activity of the townspeople from her apartment. When Marty returns her shoe, she sighs happily, "Ah, so neat and orderly."
    • Some of the newspapers that Marty flips through in Episode 1 before he finds the right one talks about a soup kitchen being exposed...
    • Also in Episode 1 at the same place, if you examine Edna's candy in 1986 you will notice one interesting book... George Orwell's 1984, foreshadowing Episode 3.
    • After going back to 1931 in Episode 1, Marty mentions to the Doc. that he met 1986 Edna Strickland, and how she complained about "hooligans." Doc then responds, "you should have seen her in The '60s when the hippies showed up." In Chapter 3, it is revealed that Doc. Brown and Edna took control of Hill Valley in the 1960s in their course of cleaning up the town.
    • It's hard to not expect the events of Episode 2 and Episode 3 when the existence of photographs of certain individuals or their possessions are repeatedly called attention to in preceding episodes. In particular, Doc's ticket stub for Frankenstein and the photo of George McFly.
    • The opening sequence in Episode 1: Doc disappears from existence. This happens at the end of Episode 2, sort of. In Episode 5, Doc does disappear - but the "wrong" Doc. At least he "dies" happy seeing "he" got The Key to the City".
    • There is an old teapot in Doc's fish tank in Episode 1. You see the same teapot in Edna's apartment, but fresh and new. This indicates that the teapot will play a role in Episode 5. Turns out to be a Red Herring, sort of.
    • In Episode 5, Trixie tells Marty that he's "kind of like family." Turns out she's his future grandmother Sylvia.
    • When Citizen Brown tries to convince Marty that Edna had good intentions, Marty replies: "So did Nero!" And Edna burns down a city, too.
    • When visiting "Scary Mary", in Episode 5 you use a broken off windshield wiper from the dead DeLorean in her yard as a fire poker in the reverie sequence. Later, during the climactic chase, you inadvertently break a wiper blade off of Edna's DeLorean, which then is used to poke a much hotter fire: Mr. Fusion's hatch was accidentally popped open in the course of things, and needs to be closed because plasma is leaking out and impeding things.
  • Gainax Ending: Admit it, that was pretty weird.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In Episode 1, it is possible for a cutscene showing Marty how to solve a puzzle (to bang on the pipes in the soup kitchen to move a trap door) to never unlock, forcing the player to restart the game or reload to a checkpoint made before first entering the soup kitchen
    • A nasty one in Episode 5. Giving the recording to Officer Parker before doing the Glass House results in Marty being stuck in the Glass House with no exit and no way to do the puzzle.
    • Although this can be fixed by reloading the game's auto-save before entering.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • The film is already one of the classic examples in fiction, but here it's cranked up to comically absurd levels. Arthur has the same rejection issues as his son and grandson, Kid Tannen is just like Biff and Buford, Trixie is more than a little similar to Lorraine (who she's not even related to!)... Hill Valley appears to abhor a vacuum.
    • Notably averted with Doc Brown, who's absolutely nothing like his father, to his father's chagrin.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Though apparently not a fan of Frankenstein, Alt-1986!Edna definitely rented A Clockwork Orange at some point.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Marty and Doc take Arthur into an alley near the new speakeasy in Episode 2.
  • Good Ol' Boy: Willie McFly.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • Marty successfully breaks Biff's brainwashing near the end of Episode 3. When he comes around though, it turns out that his pathological hatred of the McFly family has returned in this timeline, and he's even more pissed off by the fact that Marty exploited his brainwashing in order to retrieve a videotape.
    • Crops up once again in Episode 4. Because Marty never really thought of the effects his changes would have to the timeline, he has to go back to the past multiple times, each time making pretty much everyone's lives a little bit worse.
    • Marty and Doc make the mistake of showing pity to Crazy!Edna. Like Biff, however, she proves just as unstable as her other incarnations and pulls a shotgun (!) once her memory is restored.
  • Good Bad Girl:
    • Trixie Trotter And when we realize who she is in the end of episode 5...
    • The alternate 1986 version of Jennifer Parker once she teams up with Marty.
  • Good Feels Good: Cue Ball says that it feels good working on the right side of the law in Episode 5.
  • Go Out with a Smile: After Edna runs him down in the DeLorean, Citizen Brown (while also in the middle of fading out, no less) invokes this trope after seeing that "he" was given the key to the city (via newspaper).
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!:
    • Marty encountering a post-op Jennifer in the Citizen Plus facility.
      Jennifer!A: I don't think it's a good idea for us to see each other until you've undergone your first Citizen Plus treatment.
      Marty: Why not?
      Jennifer!A: Because your gosh dang hormones are out of control, Martin!
    • Dropping a barrel of pickle juice on Edna issues this hollow cry: "WHAT THE FRUG!??"
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!:
    • Episode 3: Citizen Edna Strickland in 1986-Alternate is about as pretty as a septuagenarian can get.
    • And a quite literal one when we find out who Marty's grandma is in Episode 5.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Edna Strickland is a female version in Episode 1. And Episode 5, in 1931.
  • Hacker Cave: Alt-1986!George has a wall of monitors squirreled away in his garage. Though he begins by spying on his neighbors, Marty convinces him to use his camera network against the regime.
  • Half Truth: Cue Ball's personal spin on testifying against Kid Tannen in court.
    "I prefer to think of it as exhibiting an admirable sense of self-preservation."
  • Hammerspace: Well, where does Marty carry his sizable inventory — when he's walking around town?
  • Handwave: The appearance of the original DeLorean in Episode 1 is justified with the explanation that one of the lightning bolts that hit it in 1955 (likely the latter since that was when the DeLorean's Destination Time was on the fritz) created two copies; the one we know about, and one sent seventy years forward to 2025, and later found by Doc with his time train. Lampshaded by the fact that the PS3 version awards a Trophy titled 'A Plausible Explanation' for learning this.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Lampshaded in Episode 5.
    Crazy!Edna: [sobbing] I'M A HOOLIGAN!!
  • Heel–Face Turn: Cue Ball in Episode 4.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Episode 5, Citizen Brown pushes Marty out of the way from being ran over by Edna, resulting in Brown getting fatally wounded instead. Not that it mattered much, as he was already starting to fade out of the timeline.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • In episode 3, Citizen Brown goes through one after he discovers the truth about Edna and the dystopia he helped her create.
    • Officer Parker has one of his own after Marty's first set of actions in 1931 cause him to get demoted and have his girlfriend (Jennifer's grandmother!) leave him.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The DeLorean gets (technically) mistaken for a "Car of The Future" exhibit at the science expo in the 1930s in Episode 4.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Marty ignites a barrel of Kid Tannen's own moonshine to smoke him out. Double points for using the handgun lighter, swiped from Tannen's crime family in alt-1986.
    • Alt-1986!Biff gets conked out by a rotating roulette table, a relic from his father's old speakeasy.
  • Hollywood Beauty Standards: 1931!Edna Strickland in Episodes 1 and 2 is an attractive young reporter who's involved with various charities.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Edna Strickland's rendition of "You Should Care" in Episode 2. In Young Emmett's words, "You know what represents a clear and present danger to public safety? Your singing voice!"
  • Hope Spot:
    • Episode 3, Marty convinces Citizen Brown he really is a time traveler trying to set the timeline right. Citizen Edna has no intention of letting that happen.
    • Episode 4, Marty goes off to help Young Emmett with his invention and finally fix the timeline. The ending shows Citizen Brown wanting to foil Marty's plans in order to help Edna.
  • Humiliation Conga: Marty ends up invoking one in Episode 4, with poor Young Emmett as the subject to it. Citizen Brown calls Marty out on it shortly before the plan reaches completion.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Episode 1, 1986!Edna calls Marty a nosey busybody at the same time she's being one.
  • I Call It "Vera":
    • Kid Tannen's six-shooter, "Kid Junior". He's still packing it in 1986.
    • Biff's car is named "Sheila".
  • I Can Change My Beloved: The alternate Doc Brown is motivated to make his Face–Heel Turn by this belief after learning that Edna became a bitter spinster in Marty's original history. Eventually, he realizes his mistake.
  • Identical Grandson:
    • Continuing in the grand tradition of the movies. George and Biff are both the spitting image of their fathers, Arthur McFly and Irving "Kid" Tannen, respectively. Also, Jennifer's father clearly takes after his own father in the looks department. All in all, a very clever excuse to re-use character models.
    • Subverted by Jennifer in Episode 3, as she shares a near-identical facial model to Trixie Trotter despite the two not being related at all. This ties into another aspect of the series, namely the McFly men being attracted to a particular type of woman, as Seamus was to Maggie, George was to Lorraine, and as we find out, Artie was to Trixie/Sylvia.
    • Lampshaded in Episode 4, when Marty sees a picture of a seemingly random man, only for him to point out that he looks pretty much the same as all the other Tannens, concluding that he must be an ancestor.
    • In Episode 5, Marty's great grandpa Willy shows up. Ironically, he looks more like Michael J. Fox, who is voicing said character than Marty.
  • Identity Amnesia: Justified with Crazy!Edna, who is understandably scrambled at having traveled back in time (not to mention burning Hill Valley to ashes, thus erasing its very existence).
  • Idiot Ball: (Episode 1) One moment the Doc is incredulous when he thinks Marty interacted with his grandfather, the next he urges Marty to work with Young Emmett, who isn't even an inventor yet, to get him out of prison. What could possibly go wrong? (Although to be fair, they have little choice in the matter.)
  • I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference]:
    • This time, both Marty and Doc use it. And when Marty does, you can choose the name yourself.
    • Then Edna Strickland gets in on the act in Episode 5, taking the alias Mary Pickford upon arrival in 1876.
    • Gets a brief lampshade in Episode 4 when Marty confuses Citizen Brown by telling him he's supposed to be "Carl Sagan".
      Brown: "The "billions and billions" guy?"
      Marty: "No, the suspected arsonist."
    • Both Edna and Doc lampshade this during their argument under the chandelier in Episode 5.
  • In-Joke: Gale, Zemeckis, and Fine Law Office
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Played straight with Doc Brown, but subverted with Marty; he looks the same (heck, even sounds the same), but it isn't Michael J. Fox.
    • Double Subversion: Marty's Great-Grandpa Willy McFly looks a lot like the present-day Michael J. Fox, who voices him.
    • Played with in the case of Citizen Brown, who more closely resembles Christopher Lloyd (i.e. bald head and spectacles).
  • Ironic Echo: "It's a fact. Look it up." has reappeared 3 times so far: twice from Edna, and once from Citizen Brown.
    • This ends up mixed with Foreshadowing in "Get Tannen!": When Emmett is testing his flying rocket car, a mishap ends up stranding Einstein on the courthouse roof and said car crashed through a billboard on top of the soup kitchen. After roughly re-entering 1986 (The Citizen Brown version, anyway...), Marty ends up pulling this stunt as well.
    • A darker version of this appears in "OUTATIME": When Marty is walking to the Expo with 1931!Doc's static accumulator, he is almost hit by Citizen Brown driving the DeLorean. Citizen Brown himself gets hit (after pushing Marty out of the way) by Edna driving said DeLorean while escaping from Officer Parker.
    • Marty provokes a club patron in 1931 by feebly calling him "chicken", getting him bounced out of the building.
  • Ironic Hell: Crazy!Edna lives in a shack in 1931-A, surrounded by the "pure simplicity" she sought to preserve - a desolate wasteland where Hill Valley no longer exists.
  • I Was Quite a Looker:
    • Edna Strickland as a young woman in 1931 is significantly easier on the eyes. Even Kid Tannen, who doesn't like her, comments that she has nice gams (legs).
    • Trixie turns out to be Marty's grandmother, Sylvia. Marty is completely shocked when he finds out, since she apparently looks very different in 1986.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: The entire point of Edna Strickland's character arc in episodes 4 and 5 has Citizen Brown questioning the possibility of her being a good person underneath her cruel exterior, only for the final episode to show she was always a crazy extremist who doesn't care about anyone but herself and will go to dangerously psychotic lengths to force her beliefs onto people. She even kills Citizen Brown for being in her way.
  • Jerkass Realization: Judge Brown sees the error of his ways in Ep. 5 and finally accepts his son for who he is.
  • Just the First Citizen: Done literally with Citizen Brown. Subverted when he turns out to be a Decoy Leader to Edna, his wife.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The game allows Marty to hurt Biff Tannen three times.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In 1931-A, Willy points out the In-Joke that "Hill Valley" makes no sense, being contradictory terms.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • (Episode 1) Marty asks Doc if his plan to tell Young Emmett the solution to the math problem he's been working on in his head will negatively affect the future. Doc answers in big words, but his response, summed up in normal English, is that it shouldn't hurt anything unless it turns out the world in which they live is a form of media displayed on a screen (such as a video game). As it happens, it's also an actual scientific theory. It has been suggested that the universe may indeed be a "hologram" very similar to Doc's explanation.
    • Early in Episode 4, if Marty asks his father to override the security systems, George responds that this isn't a science fiction movie. He's right; it's a computer game based on a science fiction movie.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: "Speakeasy?? You're mistaken, officer! This is an ice cream parlor." Using the panic button in front of a cop didn't help either.
  • Licked by the Dog:
    • Edna Strickland is snobbish, controlling, mean-spirited, annoying, and becomes a maniacal dictator in a bad future. However, the Emmett Brown of said future likes her, even after her older self tortures and tries to brainwash him, so she can't be all bad...or can she?
    • The second example, though, is straight-Edna Tannen walking Einstein, who doesn't mind the arrangement.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Marty exploiting Trixie's iffy U.S. citizenship to get her canned from her hostess job.
      Artie: You know I don't like to pry, but...what state where you born in?
      Trixie: Province, Manitoba. Why?
    • And done again to give Trixie her job back by using another loophole by getting married to Artie.
    • As Crazy!Edna prepares to execute Marty and Doc for their supposed crimes (actually, hers), Willie McFly turns up in the nick of time. When she smugly points out that she can just as easily kill all three of them, Willie points out that she has no legal reason to do so. "And you never break the law."
  • Love Redeems:
    • Cueball is the only gangster who is stated to be married, as well as being the only one who's apparently not imprisoned due to being given an offer by the police if he squeals on Kid.
    • Edna is happy with Kid Tannen in Episode 5.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: "Trixie Trotter", aka Silvia Miskin - Marty's grandmother.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Seemingly subverted at the end of Episode 2, regarding the Delayed Ripple Effect and Memory. When visiting alternate present timelines, namely the two Tannen-dominated ones in Part II and Episode II, time-traveling Marty doesn't become that timeline's Marty; but Doc apparently disappears from the DeLorean right after the jump to become Citizen Brown for Episode III. However, 2015!Biff suffered the same fate upon his return to 2015 after screwing with the timeline (shown in Back to the Future Part II), so there's precedence for such an occasion. As stated in the films' DVDs' FAQs, Lorraine ended up shooting the 1985A!Biff, thus ending his existence earlier. Word of God is that the original Doc faded out because he prevented his own existence by preventing time travel, as he only lived to his current age because of his body enhancements he got in the future, only possible due to time travel. So because he can't exist at this age, he fades from existence. Presumably, the same was also true of the original Einstein (the dog, not the physicist).
  • Man in White:
    • First Citizen Brown.
    • Also, in the following episode Young Emmett (who at that point is on a course to become Citizen Brown) is wearing a white suit which formerly belonged to Edna's grandfather — and part of Marty's plot to get Edna to dump him involves ruining the suit.
  • Mayor Pain: Citizen Brown is 1986-A's equivalent of Mayor (he demands that Marty address him as "your Honor"), and cultivates the image of a Type A. When Edna's plans unravel, he turns out to be a benign Type B.
  • Mexican Standoff: Between Edna and Beauregard Tannen in Episode 5. If Edna drops the torch and sets the saloon on fire, Tannen shoots her. If Tannen shoots her, Edna drops the torch and sets the saloon on fire. However, the situation is weighted somewhat in Tannen's favor, as he can wait for her torch to burn out, and then just shoot her anyway. Naturally, it's up to Marty to find a way to disarm them both simultaneously
  • Mind-Control Device: The Citizen Plus Wristwatch.
  • Mind Screw: See the You Didn't See That entry below.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: Yep, it's back in episodes 1 and 3, complete with period-appropriate music and Marty almost getting hit by a car. Parodied somewhat in Episode 4. 1931 is familiar territory to both Marty and the player by this point, but it's new to Citizen Brown. The latter goes through a mini-MSS of his own, near car accident included.
  • Mock Cousteau: Jacques Douteux, a diver at the science exhibition in Episode 5.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Pretty much everyone except Edna Strickland in the Citizen Brown regime rebels against the order.
  • Moral Dilemma: (Episode 1) Emmett asks Marty when he should expect to hear back from the patent office regarding the Rocket-Powered Drill. The game speech options lists various times, but ultimately Marty ignores whatever the player chooses and reveals to Emmett he isn't from the patent office at all and just needs the invention to help a friend out (but refuses to say who).
  • Mr. Exposition: Doc usually serves this role considering Hill Valley's history and how he has a working DeLorean.
  • Multicolored Hair: Alt-1986!Jennifer.
  • Mundane Utility: The DeLorean once again has mundane uses made of its hover propulsion system when rescuing Einstein from the roof of the Courthouse after the botched Flying Car project. Repentant Citizen Brown also later uses it to drive about as it's still capable of being used as "a means of conveyance in the first three dimensions" when its time circuits are on the fritz in Episode 4.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Danny in Episode 2 after Marty convinces him that working for Kid Tannen as a Dirty Cop is wrong, which would further distance him from his ex-girlfriend.
    • (Episode 3) Citizen Brown's reaction after hearing Citizen Edna's true intentions for, and use of, his CitizenPlus program.
  • Mythology Gag: Left and right.
  1. Episode 1:
    • Marty sees a sign for a production featuring a real shark, echoing his experience with Jaws 19 in Back to the Future II.
    • The Sisters of Mercy Soup Kitchen is located where the cafe and saloon were in the films. And it wouldn't be complete without a "HEY, McFLY!!"-scene with similar lines.
    • Artie's first scene has him (unknowingly) mimicking Marty rubbing the back of his head, similar with Marty and his father's younger self in the first movie.
    • Marty's mother waking him up at the start of Episode 1, which makes it a Good Morning, Crono, albeit it's the prime version of her this time rather than her as a teenager, one from a Bad Present or coincidentally George's grandmother.
    • Marty's experience with the amplifier, except that in this example, he uses it against Biff. Meanwhile, Biff using the amplifier mirrors Marty's actions from the first film. Marty even mentions that it took him forever to fix it after the last time he blew it out.
    • Marty arrives at 1986!Edna's apartment being towed on his skateboard by a pickup truck, like he does in the first film.
    • The first scene in the Soup Kitchen is the per-requisite bar scene, complete with "Hey McFly!", a Tannen scolding a relative McFly for his incompetence, and even a reference to the original scene by having Kid Tannen look towards Marty and say "What are you looking at, punk?". It's also notable that the McFly relative, as in 1955, is minding his own business and simply eating at the start of the scene. It also has a Tannen making an incorrect statement that is corrected by a person nearby. "I don't think [Babe] Ruth is a pitcher anymore."
    • Marty clinging onto a vehicle being driven by Tannen mirrors the similar scene in Back to the Future Part II, down to trying to secretly snare an important plot point without his noticing.
    • If Marty turns on the TV in Doc's garage, he watches a short clip from Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage in which Carl wonders whether nature would allow a time traveler to prevent his own conception. Cue Marty looking over to his dad and smiling.
    • Marty's dad mentions that sometimes, you gotta go out on a limb for the ones you love. Apt, given that he met his wife after falling from the tree branch from which he was spying on her.
    • A bunch of the newspapers in Edna's collection reference past events if you haven't identified when the speakeasy burnt down yet.
  2. Episode 2:
    • One area of this game has Marty having to avoid interaction with himself, much like he did in Back to the Future Part II.
    • In 1986:
      • When going to the side door, Marty decides to "try the front door, just in case" something like in 1985-A (BTTF Part II) happens.
      • Marty telling something only he would know to his dad George: what he did when he was eight, or how George met Lorraine.
      • During the Biff scene, a reference is made to when George punched Biff, and when Biff crashed into a manure truck - apparently a more recent crash than the one in 1955, prompting a confused Marty to ask, "Which one?"
    • Looking at the gazebo in the daytime in 1931 has Marty mention his band, the Pinheads, from the first film.
    • Young Emmett mentions requiring 1.21 kilowatts for an experiment. Later, when preparing to use his prototype flying car, he says a line similar to one that Doc says in the first film (and in Episode 1).
    • Emmett says that his flying car could make accidents and traffic jams a thing of the past. He's completely wrong; as seen in the second movie, the airways could suffer from accidents as almost caused by the DeLorean spontaneously appearing in traffic, and one look at a billboard told Doc it would take them "forever" to reach Hilldale because the skyway was jammed.
    • In the new speakeasy:
      • Marty tries to sing "Johnny B. Goode" on the microphone.
      • Marty almost orders a Pepsi at the bar, though Pepsi Cola did exist at the time, since it was created in 1893.
  3. Episode 3:
    • Marty lampshades that he's destroyed the car again, and really shouldn't be allowed to drive it anymore. Note also that when Marty asks alt-1986!Jennifer for a lift into town, she drives past him — just like the elderly couple in the first film.
    • When Marty finds his dad George, he says, "He's a peeping tom!" There is also a box of peanut brittle (referencing a deleted scene from the first film).
    • Marty mentions the time he set fire to the living room to his mom Lorraine.
    • Marty can say: "Rock n'roll is my density— er, destiny!" This is just one of several possible random lines of dialog from that scene, the best being, "He might be good with the guitar but I invented Rock and Roll!"
    • Biff messes up a turn of phrase and gets corrected by someone else (who calls him an idiot in the process).
    • Biff stands up tall against Marty as in the films.
    • When talking to Citizen Brown about the DeLorean time machine, Marty says "You built a time machine... out of a DeLorean!" identically to the way he said it in Back to the Future (and subsequently Episode 1's opening), emphasis and all. Not to mention that Marty tries to restate what Doc meant to tell him about the DeLorean's steel frame being perfect for time travel, also from Back to the Future... except he doesn't know exactly what that is.
    • Citizen Brown derisively calls Marty "Time Travel Boy" before kicking him out of his office. He is imitating 1955!Doc, who mocked Marty by calling him "Future Boy".
  4. Episode 4:
    • Jennifer notes Marty is wearing Calvin Klein underwear.
      Jennifer: "Really?"
    • George decks a security guard harassing Lorraine, as Marty commends, "Alright, Dad!"
    • Marty has to hide Citizen Brown from his past self, giving him a technobabble explanation similar to the one Doc gave Marty so long ago.
    • When Marty picks up a can of used oil from the rocket car in Emmett's lab:
      Marty: "Gross!"
      Emmett: "Accounting doesn't enter into it!"
    • After Citizen Brown took six months to fix the time machine and went back to get Marty, he mentions that the time machine repairs involved his family fortune and "a sketchy deal with some Libyan nationalists". The same things used to build the time machine originally.
    • Marty, his guitar, and giant amps once again play a part in the story. Not to mention that the final puzzle of the episode involves Emmett, the clocktower, and an oncoming lightning storm.
    • The Mind Map card on top of the stack is one taken from Red Thomas, Hill Valley's mayor-turned-bum. There's also a poster asking people to re-elect him at the Science Fair.
    • Emmett's photo album is titled "Von Braun Family", which Doc said was his family's name when they came to the U.S. before changing it to "Brown" during WWI.
    • One of Emmett's boxes for the expo is a Peabody apples box. Peabody was the farmer in the first film who was obsessed with pine trees.
    • Marty, at the "Hill Valley of the Past" diorama, looks at a T-Rex model and mutters, "If this thing is called a Tannenosaurus..." The animated series did feature a dinosaur Biff.
  5. Episode 5:
    • For starters, the title: The other four titles have been straightforward in their explanations, but the finale is simply called 'OUTATIME'. It makes sense when you remember that's what's spelt out in the DeLorean's original Vanity License Plate.
    • Marty wakes up in his trademark sleeping pose from the movies. Once again, it's Emmett Brown's phone call which jolts him awake.
    • One of the exhibits at the science fair is "Enlightenment Under the Sea", a reference to the "Enchantment Under the Sea" event which will take place in 1955.
    • Great-grandpa Willy makes an appearance - voiced by Michael J. Fox!
      Marty: "Hey! That was my great-grandpa Willy! He peed on me!note "
    • "He stole his wallet! I think he stole his wallet!"
    • Artie says you have to go out on a limb for the ones you love. His son took that to heart.
    • The final scene of Episode 5 pays homage then outright goes Up to Eleven in its parody of the final scene of the first film.
    • Crazy hermit Edna's primitive alarm system includes a couple of Frisbee pie tins. Marty of course uses one of these as a frisbee to disarm Buford Tannen in 1885.
    • The final playable sequence involves Marty clinging to a vehicle from the outside once again. It's not driven by a Tannen this time, but the hover-board makes a triumphant return!
    • A final conflict without a Tannen? MADNESS. Actually not, Edna Strickland, the driver, is destined to become one in the final timeline shown when we go back to 1986, and a happy one too for the bonus.
    • Speaking of Tannens, Beauregard Tannen is actually a Tannen from the animated series!
    • Doc mentioned Verne having a 21st century video game console cache, which included an Xbox 360 according to the headsets he and Marty use at this time. This alludes to how, in The Animated Series, Verne was a huge video game addict.
  6. Throughout the series:
    • Once per Episode, Marty using the classic "What the hell is that?!" and pointing behind who he's talking to. In Episode 5, Edna pulls it off. Marty actually falls for it. Officer Parker lampshades, "One of these days, I really should stop falling for that!"
    • Kid Tannen winds up going into a pile of manure, of course. No "I hate manure" line, though.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for Episode 4 that's found at the end of Episode 3 shows Marty telling alt-1986!Jennifer that he's from an alternate timeline. This never happens in the actual game. Not to mention three other aspects of that trailer: Citizen Brown talking to Edna, Marty still wearing his regular outfit in 1931, and the Science Expo not being hinted at once. Really, the entirety of that trailer should be ignored.
    • The trailer for Episode 2 features the line "You can't let your past self see you!" and implies that the entirety of the episode will be similar to the second movie, with Marty having to navigate around in a location he's previously time travelled to and fix things up whilst avoiding his past self. In actuality this only occurs at the start of the episode before jumping forwards in time a few months.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • As with the movies, Marty's time traveling shenanigans causes a lot of trouble. This time, he tries to solve one problem only to cause another one and when he tries to solve that, he causes another one.
    • Edna's efforts in trying to burn down Beauregard Tannen's saloon end in utter disaster. Namely, the destruction of Hill Valley itself.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Doc Brown's father looks strikingly like Theodore Roosevelt.
  • The Nose Knows: You will make use of Einstein's canine olfactory sense more than once.
  • Not So Different: Marty's playing mediator between Young Emmett and Judge Brown eventually reveals that the Judge went through the same thing with his father, except it was about his decision to come to America rather than Emmett's pursuit of science. This realization is what gets the Judge to let his son take his own path in life.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Edna Strickland, who goes from being a batty old kook in Episode 1 and Doc's love interest in Episode 2 to becoming the Big Bad in Episode 3 and beyond. Making the transition so awesome is that the game drops constant hints that are easily missed, and replaying the game brings an new appreciation for Edna's character. A few scenes near the end of Episode 2 imply that she was the one responsible for the speakeasy explosion Doc got framed for in Episode 1. She denies having to do anything with it when asked, but in Episode 5, it's revealed she was indeed responsible - AND pinned it on "Carl Sagan".
  • Off the Wagon: Alt-1986!George suspects Marty's mom of this. He's right.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Episode 2 sees Doc have one as he realizes that his past self is now getting romantically involved with Edna, which in turn is drastically changing history... leading him to disappear and Marty to appear in a new 1986 where Hill Valley is now in a totalitarian state.
    • Both Marty and Doc have a huge one in Episode 5 when Edna changes the timeline.
    • The end with 3 Future Alternative Martys!
  • Only a Lighter: A cigarette lighter shaped like a gun (engraved by a local mob boss, no less) plays a semi-important role in the second episode.
  • Opposites Attract: Edna and Kid Tannen end up together.
  • Our Founder: In the alternate Hill Valley, Emmett's "heroic" triumph over Kid Tannen is immortalized in a bizarre art deco statue. Marty adjusts it to block a security camera's line of sight.
  • Persona Non Grata: Emmett's Diesel Punk DeLorean gets him banned from the Science Expo for fifty years. Which, as it turns out, would be 48 years longer than Hill Valley had a Science Expo left to ban him from due to a influenza exhibit getting into the concessions stand and permanently shutting it down without any chance of future occurences.
  • Pet the Dog: A literal example in Episode 5. How happy is Edna? She loves Einstein and is Emmett's dog-walker, petting him in front of Doc and Marty!
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: After the DeLorean is fixed in Episode 4, Marty and Citizen Brown reenter 1931, and learn instead of August, they landed on October, right before the Hill Valley Expo, the only reason why they don't just go back to an earlier date is the same reason why they have this current problem: the time circuits are broken... only now more so.
  • Police State: The alternate universe's Hill Valley.
  • The Power of Rock: A few guitar licks is all that's needed to snap Jennifer!A's brain back to normal.
  • Press X to Not Die:
    • One is cleverly implemented in Episode 1, in which Emmett hints which gadget to use to create the fuel for the Rocket-Powered Drill by putting emphasis on a trait while arguing with his father.
    • Two more are each at the beginning and end of Episode 2. Marty must move around the DeLorean before Danny Parker reaches him, and later must close young Emmett's flying car's top at the right time.
    • Episode 3's final scene.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Edna lays this trope on Young Emmett, provoking a hilarious attempt at a smile.
  • Pyro Maniac: In Episode 5, we learn that one of the highlights for Edna when she burned speakeasies was... becoming aroused by the sight of the flames.
  • Race Against the Clock: This happens in Episode 4. On the Courthouse summit, Young Emmett is stuck on a rope that prevents him from falling to his death. It's up to Marty to save Doc once again.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Pulling out something that's nearly identical to a gun appearance-wise in the presence of gangsters isn't a good idea.
    • Edna never realised (or forgot) that setting fire to a building in a town and age where wood is the dominant building material would eventually burn the town down.
    • In Episode 5, Doc notes that it's near-impossible for Edna's DeLorean to hit 88mph due to the harsh desert environment preventing her from getting enough traction. This isn't a problem for his DeLorean since he got the flight function fixed.
    • You didn't seriously think her name was really Trixie Trotter, did you?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Marty has to deliver one to Emmett in order to motivate him and set his life back on track. Goes with the "Cruelty Is the Only Option" example up above.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Surprisingly, First Citizen Brown seems intent on getting to the root of Marty's sudden rule breaking and tries to be friendly with him, rather than being the iron-fisted dictator the previews and most of the episode implied. He's reluctant to believe Marty's story, but can't argue when Marty points out the facts. Edna, the real iron-fisted dictator, even complains about his softness. Ultimately, this results in the two of them turning on each other.
    • 1931's Officer Parker becomes this in Episode 5.
  • Red Scare: Edna uses fear of Anarchists to blackmail the police, having been told by Citizen Brown that Marty's name is actually 'Yakov Smirnoff'.
  • Refusal of the Call: In Episode 1, Emmett at first refuses to go along with Marty's attempts to get him to work on his Rocket-Powered Drill for fear of his father, Judge Brown, finding out his love of science and distaste for law.
  • Reverse Psychology: Towards the end of Episode 4, when Emmett is sitting on the clock tower ledge and thinking about giving up on science, Marty starts to hurl insults at him, hoping that Emmett will be provoked into reconsidering his stance. It works perfectly.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: Several, starting with Marty's family photo.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Marty crashes right through the billboard sign in Citizen Brown, punching a hole where the clock was on the billboard along with having broken the timeline, he remarks to himself, "Subtle. Real subtle, Marty."
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: First Citizen Brown, as he's depicted in his propaganda posters. A picture in Citizen Brown's office shows them on Judge Brown, too.
  • Scenery Gorn: In Episode 5, when Hill Valley ceases to exist and you find the house of "Scary Mary" (IE: Edna) you come across the rotted hulk of the instance of the DeLorean time machine that Edna stole. Parts of it are used as a very loud door chime outside, and the Mr. Fusion hatch is broken off, allowing you to see into the ripped open fusion chamber underneath.
  • Science Is Bad: Citizen Brown blames his science for turning Edna so corrupt in the future. He's wrong, of course, but he's unlikely to listen to reason...
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Marty and Doc's reaction to the three different future Martys is to jump in the Delorean and bolt.
  • Script Swap: Marty has to engineer two simultaneous variants in Episode 2, one with sheet music for various piano songs and one with lyrics to one of those songs.
  • See You in Hell: Spoken to Beauregard Tannen by Edna.
    Beauregard: "You first, lady."
  • Sequel Hook: Besides the classic "To Be Continued", the game ends with three future Martys showing up. Telltale did not announce a sequel, but hadn't ruled it out - so the "To Be Continued" could actually have been followed up on, or it could simply be a nod to the VHS release of the original film that included the same Sequel Hook.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: A continuing plot for the series. The story opens with Marty trying to rescue Doc, but this leads to further problems as Marty's interactions in the past just cause the present to break down even further. A major case happens in Episode 3, where almost all the events from the movies never happened.
    • Completely deconstructed in Episode 4, where Citizen Brown calls Marty out on the fact that, according to his "right" timeline, Edna winds up alone and miserable. Citizen Brown goes off to save Edna with his own Set Right What Once Went Wrong plan by making sure that Young Emmett winds up with Edna, but she doesn't corrupt him.
    • It gets reconstructed by the end of Episode 5, though; in the final timeline, Emmett and Edna aren't together, but the latter is neither alone nor miserable.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: Marty almost ends up on the business end of this trope in Episode 2 when he pulls out a gun-shaped lighter in the middle of Tannen's speakeasy, and immediately finds himself staring down the barrels of several guns simultaneously.
    Matches: Don't. Even. Blink.
    Marty: (puts his hands up) It's not a real gun, it's not a real gun, I swear!
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Episode 1:
      • The Weird Science poster on Marty's wall.
      • Marty also has a "Greetings from the Moon" postcard on his wall.
      • Mario Bros. Charity.
      • Marty's choice of an alias are Sonny Crockett, Harry Callahan, and Michael Corleone, all names of famous characters in crime fiction. On top of that, Marty also has the option of quoting said Callahan before giving his name.
      • Doc has the alias Carl Sagan in 1931. Additionally, the TV in Doc's garage plays a clip from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
      • Edna screams out the window, "Jack! Diane! I know what you're doing behind that tree!", a reference to the song Jack and Diane.
      • The next thing Young Emmett says after introducing himself is that he's "a law clerk, not a doctor!", and Marty later threatens to award the patent for the rocket-powered drill to one Dr. McCoy.
    • In Episode 2:
      • Doc mentions having hidden the DeLorean in a DeSoto lot, keeping it safe because no one is buying cars in the Depression-era economy.
      • When trying to get into the speakeasy, Marty can say that he's "selling these fine leather jackets."
      • One of the gangsters in Kid Tannen's gang is named "Zane."
    • In Episode 3:
      • When Alt-1986!Jennifer spots Marty's DeLorean in a billboard, she asks whether he's Luke or Bo.
      • Helter Skelter is mentioned by Alt-1986!Jennifer.
      • Marty can have this exchange with any security box:
      • Also, the PS3 trophy for diving into the decycling bin is called "Into the garbage chute, McFlyboy".
      • If you examine Marty's guitar in his inventory, he'll say "This is my axe. There are many like it, but this one is mine."
      • The "Citizen Plus" program is eerily similar to the brainwashing in A Clockwork Orange, as seen with Biff (who becomes physically ill at the mere thought of "bad behavior") and Doc (who ends the episode strapped to a chair with his eyes pried open).
      • A box of floppy disks includes one labeled WOPR. Another is labeled "LOGO" and features an image of a turtle; LOGO is a programming language used for "turtle graphics" that was used by many educational facilities in the 1980s. Marty "greets" the pile with another shout-out: "Greetings, programs," and one disk is apparently labeled "Game Grid", though Marty remarks that while nice, "the movie was better".
      • A portrait of Citizen Brown and Mrs. Citizen Brown resembles American Gothic.
      • When examining a noteworthy (but ultimately useless) brick for the first time, Marty exclaims that it's just another brick in the wall.
      • When using a microphone that's not part of a puzzle, Marty may say "Check, sibilance, sibilance."
      • When you go down the garbage chute and land in the dumpster, one of the items that flies out is a Banang bottle.
      • Near the end when Marty is trying to avoid getting beaten up by an un-brainwashed Biff, he decides to start throwing vinyls at him from a nearby box as he advances slowly. Sound familiar?
    • In Episode 4: Jennifer remarks Marty is "a little short for a Stormtrooper." Since Star Wars had been released in theaters at that point, Jennifer is probably lampshading the situation.
    • In Episode 5: Marty is called Yakov Smirnoff, while Edna herself goes by Mary Pickford, which makes perfect sense since Pickford was a famous actress in 1931 whose name no one would recognize in the 1870's.note 
  • Shoot the Hostage: In Episode 5, 1986A! Citizen Brown has hidden 1931! Emmett Brown inside a bathysphere and poses as Jacques Doutoux, and wouldn't let Marty near the bathysphere. Marty steps on the bathysphere's hose, cutting off oxygen to Emmett in order to get Brown, who begins to painfully fade away, to release him.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The environments are mostly extremely detailed reproductions of classic scenes from the movie, such as Doc's lab (complete with the speaker that Marty blows up in the beginning of the first movie) and the Lone Pine Mall in the first episode. Even the flying DeLorean has the flashing green lights underneath it, which were only seen once in the second film.
    • Doc tells Marty that his inspiration for deciding to become a scientist was seeing Frankenstein (1931) for the first time. When he goes on a date with Edna instead he sees The Virtuous Husband instead. This was a real movie released in the same year as Frankenstein. (It was a comedy about how a man marries at a young age and bases all of his marriage decisions on advice written in letters from his dead mother. The wife can't stand it and eventually burns them, and the man grows more tolerable.)
  • Sigil Spam: The "human with arms raised" symbol in alt-1986. When Citizen Brown sees the notebook, he realizes the similarity to the Flux Capacitor, suggesting that he may have subconsciously based one on the other.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss:
    • As soon as Emmett and Edna start hurling vitriolic insults at each other, you know there's going to be trouble.
    • Inverted with Edna and Kid Tannen in the finale.
  • The Slow Path: Edna!1800's.
  • Smoke Out: In Episode 1, when Marty appears in the '30s, the DeLorean pops in right in between a booze runner car and a pursuing police car exchanging gunfire. His appearance lets the runner get away, and the copper decides to try and run the DeLorean off the road. Then the DeLorean's reactor system conveniently does a heat flush right in the copper's face as part of its post-time-jump cool-down, allowing for a getaway.
  • Smug Snake: 1931!Edna is a self-righteous prude who isn't as influential or talented as she'd like to think she is. By Episode 3, her self-righteousness and prudishness become a serious problem.
  • Soap Box Sadie: Edna Strickland is a Deconstruction. Her protests and general prudishness are harmless enough as a young woman, but when she gets older...
    • ...well, it depends on the timeline. In the normal one, she becomes an absent-minded Crazy Cat Lady who lives by herself in a second-story apartment and is always using a megaphone to yell at hooligans from her window.
    • Although she wasn't as harmless as a teen/young adult as she initially lets on...
  • So Was X: Though Citizen Brown admits Edna's methods were horrible, he reminds Marty that she started with good intentions. Marty retorts, "So did Nero!" In a bit of Foreshadowing, Edna does burn down a city despite having good intentions!
  • Start X to Stop X: Though not deliberately, Edna Strickland winds up destroying Hill Valley in an attempt to "save" it!
  • Stealth Pun: The "Plant Recorder"? It's a listening device you plant someplace!
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Arthur McFly looks and sounds just like George McFly (both being based on Crispin Glover's performance in the film). Artie's father, William, is once again played by Michael J. Fox, who had previously portrayed him in a photo shown in the third film (even though Marty himself is actually voiced by AJ LoCascio). This leads one to believe that if the pattern continues, since Marty's son will end up looking like Michael J. Fox, his grandson and great-grandson will look like Crispin Glover, and so on.
    • Also, Kid Tannen is basically just Biff with a mustache and zoot suit.
  • A Storm Is Coming: A thunderstorm rolls in during Marty's premonitory dream in Episode 1.
  • Super Multi-Purpose Room: Kid's concealable speakeasy.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The character of Leech was originally intended as Needles, but was altered for budgetary reasons (presumably, they couldn't afford to use Flea's likeness). In addition, the voice actor just wasn't able to get the voice of Needles down, but could handle Leech properly.
  • Take a Third Option: Episode 4. Citizen Brown suggests that instead of destroying his timeline to restore Marty's, they try to find a "best of both worlds" approach, letting him marry Edna but trying to temper her zeal. Marty rejects the idea, which leads to Brown's Face–Heel Turn. In the end, they both get what they want: Marty's timeline is restored, but Edna ends up Happily Married (just not to Doc) and mellowed out rather than the Crazy Cat Lady she was originally.
  • Take My Hand: Doc hoisting Marty back into the DeLorean at Episode 5's climax. The geezer's got a pretty strong arm.
  • Taking the Bullet: When Edna carjacks the DeLorean, a fading Citizen Brown shoves Marty out of the way. The camera cuts away, revealing that he's been fatally struck by the car.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Doc's tape in Episode 1 and the billboard PA in Episode 3.
  • Temporal Paradox: The Gainax Ending with three older Alt!Martys imitating the "I traveled back in time, You have to help me!" spiel at the end of the first movie. Doc and Player Character Marty look on, flummoxed. By all accounts, Doc expected such an event would have torn the spacetime continuum asunder "like a cheap washrag". Apparently the continuum is a bit more durable than he thought...
  • Theme Tune Cameo: A part of "Back In Time" is on the jukebox at Doc Brown's estate. The entire first verse can be played in-game, and the entire song is played during the end credits of Episode 5. Only problem with trying to play it on the jukebox is that Biff constantly gets in the way. It isn't until you get Marty to talk to George about how he can take care of himself that you're able to play it in the background, as Biff is now generous enough to turn it on for you.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: Marty's recollection that he's seen his future grandmother naked (in his own time, not in 1931).
  • Throw a Barrel at It: Kid is undone by a loose barrel of alcohol, whilst Edna is apprehended with a barrel of pickles.
  • Timeshifted Actor:
    • Young Emmett is voiced by James Arnold Taylor; also, Young and Old Edna each have their own voice actress.
    • AJ LoCascio plays Marty throughout the game. In Episode 5, Michael J. Fox finally joins in as William McFly, in addition to the three older future Martys at the very end of the game.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble:
    Marty: Marty McFly A dork? He can't be a dork!
    Jennifer!A: OK, anyone who talks about himself in the third person is a dork.
  • Tim Taylor Technology:
    • Young Emmett's rocket-powered drill in Episode 1. In a subversion, it completely fails at its intended purpose and just explodes when Marty tries to use it, but the rocket segment remains intact. Marty attaches the rockets to a bicycle in order to chase down Kid Tannen, and this application of Tim Taylor Technology does work. It turns out the rockets always invariably explode too, but they fortunately stay intact until the rescue is complete.
    • Then there's Emmett's flying car in Episode 5. KABOOM!
  • Title Drop: Subverted when Crazy!Edna acts like she's in the past.
    Crazy!Edna: Here they come! The lights! I'm being transported!
    Doc: Where?
    Crazy!Edna: BACK! (steps out of broken DeLorean) the past.
  • Title: The Adaptation
  • Took a Level in Badass: (Episode 3) Punk rock Jennifer in 1986-Alternate is far hotter than her "normal" timeline counterpart.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Alt-1986 Jennifer is kind of a bitch. This could also be a case of becoming a Broken Bird because of the terrifying dystopia she's grown up in, and perhaps that her own father supports the regime as a law officer.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Episode 5 has both Kid Tannen and Edna Strickland mature into a kind, elderly couple who socialize with the people of Hill Valley.
  • Trapped in the Past: Doc in Episode 1, before Marty comes to 1931 to rescue him. Unfortunately, Marty has his work cut out for him since Doc is trapped in jail.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: YOU could be a Citizen Plus!
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Episode 3, "Citizen Brown", and HOW. Edna Strickland convinces Emmett Brown of this, though she goes even further than he would.
  • The Voice: Judge Brown in the first episode. Even in the Browns' family portrait, you can only make out his silhouette. He does appear in Episode 5.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Judge Brown. Who finally respects his son in Ep. 5 after realizing the error of his ways.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Citizen Brown, especially by the end of episode 4.
    • In Episode 5, Edna reveals she was the speakeasy arsonist, and did it out of moral outrage. Upon traveling back to the 1800's, she follows her prohibitionist leanings and unhesitatingly burns down a saloon for similar reasons, accidentally taking the rest of Hill Valley with it. If that's not well-intentioned AND extreme, nothing is.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: As jerkish as Biff is... even Marty takes pity on Citizen Plus Biff, especially after he discovers what X-11 mode does to him.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 2: right as it seems like the series is done with 1931, it turns out that Doc and Marty accidentally altered Doc's history, as Marty winds up crashing into a Citzen Brown billboard in 1986, with Doc no longer in the DeLorean.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 2: "Relax! We've got everything under control."
    • Episode 4: "How much do you know about [insert Marty's alias here]?"
  • Wham Shot:
    • Episode 2 ends with something going wrong when the DeLorean is in mid-jump back to 1986; as the DeLorean materializes, Doc and Einstein are gone as Marty crashes the DeLorean into a billboard... which as we and Marty soon realize is of one Citizen Brown welcoming people to Hill Valley.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In episode 5, what happened to the French diver after Doc stole his outfit? Presumably he was hidden somewhere in his booth, because it'd be kind of hard for Doc to drag an unconscious body through a crowded expo hall without drawing attention.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In Episode 4, Citizen Brown makes Marty feel really bad about the fact that reverting history will leave Edna lonely and unhappy, and insists she could have a happy ending as well. Can also double as What the Hell, Player?.
    • In the same episode, Emmett isn't too happy with Marty after finding out not only he had been lying about his name, he also ruined his relationship with Edna (even if he has a good reason about it).
    • Also in the next episode where Marty has to threaten Citizen Brown with suffocating Young Doc to death in order to free him from imprisonment. It was a bluff, but Citizen Brown gives in after a few minutes after experiencing existence fade-out.
  • What Year Is This?:
    • Marty ends up resorting to this in Episode 3, despite the time display still working. Likely the result of denial due to the severe differences between the alternate 1986 and the original timeline.
    • And then again in Episode 4, because the time display isn't working as well as he thought.
  • Which Me?: The trio of bickering Martys in the pre-credits scene. Sequel Hook?
  • Who's on First?: In Episode 1:
    Marty: "Nice bike. Huffy?"
    1931 Edna: "Huffy? I'm not huffy, I'm passionate!"
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Edna is petrified of dogs; Naturally, Marty sics Einstein onto to her at every opportunity. In the alternate Hill Valley, she responds with a pitch-perfect Donald Sutherland impression.
    • [points] "...doooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOG! EEEEEEEK!!!!"
    • However, the "Good" Edna in the ending of Episode 5 gets along great with Einstein and is even his daily dogwalker (every afternoon).
  • The Woman Behind the Man: Edna Strickland was controlling Citizen Brown the whole time. Even when they were dating in the 30s.
  • You Bastard!: Young Emmett uses this verbatim against Marty, when he realizes that he's the one who's been messing up his entire life from the start. Also, Marty even plays up the role, making himself out to be a sadistic Jerkass, so Young Emmett will snap out of his depression.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: No matter what marriage Doc chooses with Edna, it turns out badly. If Doc is pushed into leaving science, he becomes a successful industrialist and still has an acrimonious divorce with Edna, according to the newspaper.
  • You Didn't See That: The ending of Episode 5.
    Doc: Don't say anything. Let's just walk quietly into the lab and hope there are no more surprises.
  • You Make Me Sic: While on her bullhorn, Edna corrects a vandal's misspelling of his graffiti.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Practically every episode has at least one occurrence of this. To be fair, this is par for the course with Telltale games, but still!
  • Zeerust: At the Hill Valley Science and Technology Expo in Episode 4, Marty sees a "Hill Valley of the Future" tent speculating what Hill Valley will be like in 1981. (The scene takes place in 1931. Marty's from 1986.) The exhibit predicts underground cities, very Zeerust-esque architecture, and artificial rain and sunshine. Marty's comment: "I don't think I've visited THAT timeline yet..." Officer Parker's booth even has some models of potential police equipment which will later be known as a taser and a breathalyser.
  • Zeerust Canon: The ending of Episode 5: Marty asks where did he and Doc get those headsets, which are quite obviously those of the Xbox 360 (Verne had them in his 21st century video game console cache), which hints that our contemporary times are canon. A second later, Marty gets his hover-board from 2015, which proves that their 21st century is still like in the films. Either it somehow survived an unintended alteration of history that resulted in our own present-day, Doc picked up a new hoverboard from later in the future, or something advanced the world's technology, and quickly. Sometimes, hand-waves are better...

Alternative Title(s): Back To The Future


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