Back to the Future: The Game (Episode 1) Game Poster Image

Back to the Future: The Game (Episode 1)



Enjoyable first chapter in movie-based episodic series.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game is about saving your friend, Doc, who is trapped in the past. This isn't sending out a bad message, but the lead character, Marty, isn't squeaky clean (see Role Models section).

Positive role models

Marty McFly is a courageous, nice teenager who wants to save his friend, but he swears a bit and steals items -- such as alcohol and a mobster's hat by posing as a shoe shiner.

Ease of play

This adventure game is very easy to play. Controlling Marty's movements is simple because of limited options (click the mouse and push in a given direction) and selecting dialogue from a list of options is a breeze. Opening the inventory to get items might take a little practice.


There are a few animated scenes of violence, including police and gangsters shooting at each other during a car chase and one scene of someone getting punched in the face.

Not applicable

The game has some language not suitable for young ears, including a few instances of the word "s--t" (spoken by Doc and Biff). Other words include "damn," "hell," "heck" and one instance where Marty says "Jesus Christ, Doc! You disintegrated Einstein!"


This is a game based on the popular movie of the same name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The game includes references to alcohol and cigarettes. In fact, one of your missions is to steal gin from a soup kitchen run by bootleggers. Ms. Strickland looks through binoculars and yells "Hey you kids, put out those cigarettes!" There is also a reference to "drunken bums."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Back to the Future: The Game (Episode 1) isn't rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) as it's a digital download, but there are some inappropriate themes and language for younger ears. Specifically, there's swearing, and one of your missions has you stealing alcohol from mobsters at an illegal gin establishment (pretending to be a soup kitchen).

What's it about?

BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE GAME (EPISODE 1) takes place after the three Back to the Future films. Marty McFly (voiced by a Michael J. Fox sound-a-like) travels back in time -- to the dirty thirties, no less -- to rescue his friend Doc (voiced by the real Christopher Lloyd from the film trilogy). McFly uses Doc's souped-up DeLorean, with his faithful dog Einstein, to zap back in time to bring Doc back to the future -- but he runs into some resistance by the police, mobsters, and a younger Ms. Strickland, a peppy newspaper reporter. By solving puzzles, exploring Hill Valley in the 1930s, and interacting with the townsfolk, Marty can complete his ambitious goal -- or can he?

Is it any good?


This first downloadable episode in the 5-part series is an excellent adventure game. The puzzles are thought-provoking but not too challenging. For example, in one scene you need to tell your imprisoned friend Doc about a formula that's being muttered by the younger Doc walking around the town. Because you have a tape recorder, you're able to capture what young Doc is saying and play it back for your friend who is sitting in a jail cell (remember: the two Docs must never cross paths for it could disrupt the time-space continuum!). While on the short side, this first tale in the series is ideal for those who love a good story, have patience to solve puzzles, and enjoy clicking on dialogue to get the info you need from characters. Note: the $24.95 price covers all five games.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Telltale Games should've made the game more appropriate for everyone instead of for teens and adults. That is, does the swearing really add to the experience?

  • Also, families can also talk about whether they like the idea of episodic games or would you rather have the entire story in one download? Do you mind waiting for Episode 2 if it takes a month or longer?

Game details

Available online?Not available online
Developer:Telltale Games
Release date:December 23, 2010
ESRB rating:NR

This review of Back to the Future: The Game (Episode 1) was written by

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Teen, 16 years old Written byAlreadyTaken May 31, 2013

Not that bad

CommonSenseMedia has a bit of a discrepancy here- rating the movie 8 and the game 10 when they are virtually the same in terms of content. Swearing is actually much less frequent here, and violence is of no concern. However, it must be said that there is an official ESRB, which is T.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byvalentinD August 30, 2016

good game

it's okay for the tweens to play with it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byMarty McFly May 30, 2012

Back To The Future 1-5 (The Bad)

Since CSM does not have the rest of the Series Reviews up I will go ahead and state the bad parts here. 1: There is a drunk cop most of the game (3-5) 2: Edna Strickland plans to burn down (and does at one point) a Speakeasy 3: In (Citizen Brown) Biff Tannen is in the basement when he sees boxes of "Girly Magazines" (When hovering over this it says "Porn") There are cases of Beer, and when Marty is trying to get Biff out of his trance he looks at the magazine and says "Boobies!" and he also sees Cigars and trys to convince Biff to smoke them 4: Young Emmet Brown and Marty McFly steal Alcohol from a Soup Kitchen to power Emmet's Rocket Drill That's all I can think of now. The rest of the game was great. It followed along with the movies perfectly.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking