Telltale's Back To The Future is definitely not their finest work, nore it does not fall under its tragedies (something to do with Jurassic Park and the Wallace And Gromit games?). Now yes, most people would argue that for the time being as it stands, Telltale's The Walking Dead stands tall as its magnum opus. And yes I agree with it. The sophistication combined with the brutal reality in the writing and the characters and pacing and oh my god it's good. But let's put aside that whole other can of worms.
Because you know what, Back To The Future was absolutely fantastic.
Look it had problems, that's for sure. The puzzles were uneven as fuck, dialogue "hmmm" moments where you hmmm and haaaa because you're not sure if you can say that without being cheesy as all hell? Yeah it had one or two of those. At times it was incredibly shallow, at other times...not so shallow. Set ups usually involved "fix the dominoes up for 70%, 30% actual progress occurs". And this was definitely not a story with any kind of super moral troubles, emotional descents into madness and tears, and the most terrifying of all
But jokes aside, Back To The Future was a story written for fans of the series. It was not a game to be (the dreaded) "All-Inclusive" and try to balance bringing in newbies and giving hardcore fans (the also dreaded) "Fan Service". If you didn't see the movies, then fuck where you know the story is not a thing oh god I haven't slept at all I should not be writing in this state.
Still though, this game made me feel like a child again. I gasped at every twist, a few I didn't even see coming. I laughed at most moments of set up funny-ness (not a word). I followed every storyline with conviction, and I even got a tiny bit sad when one Doc from a different timeline died, and when they did the whole "Spielberg homage/rip off to dysfunctional fathers" and this game has been out for forever I can talk about the game if I want to, screw spoilers.
But just everything about it made me happy, it made me so damn happy I just feel happy thinking about how happy I was when I played it. It hit all the right nostalgia notes, still giving away plenty of original storylines to continue to pique my interest. I found it to the most part, very well executed, though like all things, sometimes it dipped here and there (1st Episode, 1 hour on one puzzle, I wish I did a lot better at puzzle games).
I could go on, but the thing that made it best of all for me, better than the Walking Dead. It was just light-hearted and a very silly. No deep moral decisions, no impact on the world coming back three games later, no intricate conversational system, no terror or regret at the choices I've made.
95% of my time with this game I felt like shit. 5% the game was on pause.
Look I love those games too, I'm not just taking the piss. Mass Effect is incredible and changed my life in a couple of aspects, and I'm a sucker for all that influence and impact systems. The Walking Dead is the first game ever to make me shed a tear. These games are prolific feats and fantastic works that's for sure, but just for a little while, can we not just have some fun? Do people still remember that word? People seem to frown upon that now, as if fun isn't an option because we need to discover our moral boundaries or fuck shit up on CoD. I'm just talking about good old fashioned adventuring fun! An adventure, a classically relatable yet cooler than you protagonist etc etc. Back To The Future doesn't break new ground, but my oh my does it tread over old one so well.
Back To The Future was a real refreshing experience in a time of such tragedy. It was pure escapism at its finest, and you can't fault it for doing its job damned well. It was fun, and happy, but also a little sad in its own Hollywood way. It wasn't deep, but neither superficial to be disregarded. It reveled in its own absurdity, and by doing that it was convincing enough for me to love it. It was just madcap insanity, reigned in by some semblance of a plot bouncing from A to B back to A to C back to A etc.
I don't care if other people hated it, or loved it, or anywhere inbetweened it. I didn't write this for an open discussion (though do not take that as an invitation not to, I love talking to people about games), I wrote this to express my tremendous gratitude to Telltale for creating something that was so enjoyable to me that it will stay with me for a very long time.
Back To The Future was created by people who loved the series, for people who enjoyed the series. And for this reason, I can't praise it highly enough.
Great Scott, Telltale, this was some heavy shit.
Back To The Future, one of the most interesting science fiction franchises to stick two fingers up at science.
(I know this was a lot rougher than my usual work, but I just needed to vomit words about this game, because it really is simplicity at its finest. Apologies PK)