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Screenwriter Bob Gale on the “Back to the Future” Game

Screenwriter Bob Gale on the “Back to the Future” Game (photo)

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Those masters of hilarious, episodic gaming at Telltale Games are revving up moviedom’s most iconic Delorean for another trip through time. “Back to the Future: The Game” takes Marty McFly and Doc Brown to computer screens everywhere just as the first “BTTF” film has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The five-part adventure picks up after the events of “BTTF 3” and tasks Marty to travel into the past where he must enlist the help of a 17-year-old Doc in saving the timeline again. Telltale’s making the game with the help of the films’ co-creator and co-writer Bob Gale. Gale took time to answer a few questions about the game.

What’s been the hardest part of revisiting these characters in a new medium?

Actually, it hasn’t been hard at all! Because both Marty and Doc are very active characters, the idea that both have to accomplish certain tasks in a game is an easy transition.

Where do the games fit in with regard to the events of the movies?

The game begins about 6 months after the events of the movies. We had a brief conversation about starting the game in 2011 but, as I say, it was brief because it was my opinion that the fans wanted to revisit Marty and Doc as they were in the movies, as opposed to a much older Marty.

Are you getting to fit in stuff (plot ideas or character beats) that might have been left on the cutting room floor for the movies?

You can see exactly what was left on the cutting room floor in the deleted scenes sections of the DVDs! None of that stuff belongs in the game. We are, however, meeting Doc as a 17-year-old, and that was a concept Bob Zemeckis and I considered early on as a possible focus for “BTTF 2” when we were trying to decide what the sequel would be about.

What present-day technology comes closest to something you imagined in “Back to the Future?”

Actually, we got a lot of things right! We got the Jumbotron billboard in the town square, home telephone-video conferencing, multiple TV channels on a giant screen TV at once, handheld units for sales transactions, financial transactions via computer… We’re hoping someone will get a version of the hoverboard out there by 2015, but flying cars as we imagined them don’t seem likely.

Is there anything that surprises you about how video games have evolved in the 25 years since the first “BTTF” movie?

Honestly? No! We had the scene in Cafe 80s where the two kids are trying to figure out an arcade videogame and then become dismissive of it because “you mean you have to use your hands?” Looks like Xbox Kinect is the first step along those lines — no hand held controller!

What do you think is the secret behind the lasting appeal of the “BTTF” movies?

Great identifiable characters, and a very human premise — everyone in the world wonders what their parents were really like as kids!

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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