Back to the Future Slots
The Back to the Future movie trilogy made a killing at the box office and transformed Michael J. Fox from a lovable TV actor into a legitimate movie star. All three films were directed by Robert Zemeckis, and the original is still well-received over 30 years later.
A number of successful TV shows and movies have entered into licensing agreements over the years to allow limited usage of sounds and images from their products. Back to the Future is no different, and it's been turned into pinball machines, t-shirts, birthday cards, and even light-up shoes. While all of these products are interesting in their own way, this article specifically deals with the Back to the Future slot machine created by IGT, the world's largest manufacturer of slots.
Synopsis of the Back to the Future Trilogy
If you've never seen the Back to the Future films, then you're in for a real treat. They provide just the right amount of action and comedy, all rolled up into a family-friendly package. Whether you're a newcomer to the series or just haven't seen them in a decade, here's a basic synopsis for each.
Back to the Future
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in an average suburban teenager with a weak-willed father (Crispin Glover) and an alcoholic mother (Lea Thompson). He's also pals with Hill Valley's resident kook, a scientist/inventor by the name of Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (Christopher Lloyd). It turns out that Doc Brown has invented a time machine (in the form of a DeLorean car), and he shows it to Marty just minutes before being gunned down by Libyan terrorists.
Marty flees in the vehicle, accidentally activating it and winding up in 1955. Trapped in the past, he must find a power source to return home, team up with Doc Brown to prevent his eventual death, and help his teenage parents fall in love. His main obstacle along the way is Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson), an ignorant jock who bullies Marty's father in the past, present, and future.
The film proved to be a major hit at the global box office, making $389.1 million against a cost of $19 million. It inspired two sequels, multiple video games, a theme park ride, an animated series, and a musical. Over 30 years later, it remains one of the most-loved entries into the science-fiction genre.
Back to the Future Part II
The first sequel in the trilogy picks up right where the first left off, with Doc Brown, Marty, and his girlfriend Jennifer Parker (now played by Elizabeth Shue) all traveling into the future to prevent a problem with Marty's eventual children.
While the initial challenge involving Biff Tannen's grandson is sorted out rather quickly, additional problems occur when a futuristic sports almanac is sent to the past and turns Biff into the power-mad ruler of Hill Valley. Marty is forced to leap across time, even going back to revisit some of the events from the original movie.
The film ends with another cliffhanger, setting up our hero for a journey back to 1885 to rescue Doc Brown. While still well-received by audiences, reviews for this installment weren't as strong. It still cleaned up at the box office, however, raking in $332 million and becoming the third-highest-grossing film of 1989.
Back to the Future Part III
Released six months after the second film, this final installment in the trilogy finds Marty McFly traveling back to 1885 to rescue Doc Brown and prevent his death at the hands of Biff Tannen's great-grandfather, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen (also Thomas F. Wilson).
Marty runs into his own ancestors, adopts the alias of "Clint Eastwood" (which doesn't seem to impress anyone), and witnesses Doc fall in love with a local (Mary Steenburgen). The bulk of the plot revolves around the duo trying to find a way to get the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour in order to return home.
Reviews for this installment were better than the second, although box revenue dropped to a still-respectable $244.5 million.
IGT's Back to the Future Slot
IGT has long been famous by taking existing properties and turning them into successful slot machines. Given the enduring popularity of the Back to the Future franchise, an eventual deal between IGT and Amblin Entertainment seemed inevitable.
The slot was introduced at the 2013 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, and it debuted in Nevada casinos in early 2014. A 5-reel, 40-payline slot, the game draws upon elements from all three movies and even features some original voiceover work from stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Clips, animation, and symbols from the movies appear throughout the game, both on the main reels and the additional 42" upper screen. The top of the game even has a replica of the iconic Hill Valley clock tower, something that should please hardcore fans of the series.
Players can wager from $0.75 to $3 per payline, and the top jackpot pays out 30,000 credits. It also includes IGT's "enhanced content" concept, allowing you to play themes featuring either Marty or Biff. When you get tired of one, the other can be accessed with a single push of the button. This dual style of play is meant to retain player interest, once again giving IGT an advantage over their rivals on the casino floor.
Symbols on the Reels
There are several different types of symbols on the Back to the Future reels, with most of them being directly tied to the movies. If you happen to play the game at a land-based casino, here are some of the icons you can expect to encounter:
- Marty McFly
The main character of the trilogy and the breakout film role for Michael J. Fox.
- Doc Brown
A brilliant scientist who's dismissed as a kook by most people. Played by Christopher Lloyd.
- Biff Tannen
A classic bully who plagues the McFly family in various incarnations. Played by Thomas F. Wilson.
- Lorraine Baines-McFly
A 1950's teen and Marty's future mother. When she falls for a time-traveling Marty, all sorts of hijinks ensue. Played by Lea Thompson.
- DeLorean Car
A sports car manufactured for the American market from 1981 to 1983. A modified version of the vehicle serves as Doc Brown's time machine, providing it can reach a speed of 88 miles per hour. Acts as a wild symbol in this game.
- Video Camera
Early in the first film, Marty uses the video camera to film Doc Brown's time machine.
Marty's favorite hobby. In the sequel, these have been replaced by hover boards.
- Time Clock
This icon provides a reminder of time's inevitable march, and it also acts as a scatter symbol. Get three or more of these symbols on the reels to activate a bonus feature.
- Marty's Quilted Vest
An iconic piece of costuming and an integral part of Marty's clothing throughout the series.
- License Plate
A vanity plate with the word "Outatime" written on it.
Back to the Future Bonus Features
Some slots only have a handful of bonus features, but the Back to the Future game from IGT gives players a chance to try one of five different bonus rounds. In order to play any of these, you'll first need to get three or more scatter symbols on the reels. A wheel then appears and spins horizontally, revealing the specific bonus round and any attached multipliers.
BBonus features include the following:
The time panel on the DeLorean looms large, and players are challenged to predict which date is going to appear. If you enter the correct digits, you stand to win a substantial bonus.
The Hill Valley clock tower plays a prominent role in this feature, and you'll be asked to spin the clock face in order to reveal a multiplier. Once this number has been determined, you'll receive five bonus spins with the accompanying multiplier. The feature can also be re-triggered.
Press the button to spin the back tires of the DeLorean, with each rotation resulting in additional credits for the player. At the end of the round, you'll even get to see the car speeding into the distance along with the sound of a vehicle peeling out.
A free game bonus round where the player chooses various symbols and receives multipliers and credits along the way. There are several rounds to play through.
The screen is filled with various symbols, and some of these conceal fuel logs for your virtual train. Successfully uncovering a log causes the multiplier meter to increase, with a maximum of 5x. If you get the "End of Track" icon three times, then the round ends with a movie clip of the train careening into a gulch.
Back to the Future Soundtrack
The movie trilogy includes some great tunes, and the first installment even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for Huey Lewis and the News. This section lists the most notable hits played in the Back to the Future movies, and some even make an appearance in the slot machine adaptation. Even if your favorite isn't included, you can always download it onto your iPod and create an original soundtrack for your next gaming session.
- "The Power of Love" (1985 by Huey Lewis and The News)
- "Back In Time" (1985 by Huey Lewis and The News)
- "Johnny B. Goode" (1955 by Chuck Berry)
- "Earth Angel" (1954 by Harry Waters Jr. and the Starlighters)
- "Mr. Sandman" (1954 by The Four Aces)
- "Beat It" (1982 by Michael Jackson)
- "I Can't Drive 55" (1984 by Sammy Hagar)
Back to the Future Slots: A Summary
Back to the Future was a massive cinematic hit that resulted in two sequels, a score of merchandise, and the superstardom of Michael J. Fox. Thanks to a partnership with Amblin Entertainment, IGT has rolled the entire trilogy into a single video slot, allowing players to enjoy the sights and sounds of the franchise while competing for large cash prizes. In addition to film clips and new voiceovers from Fox and co-star Christopher Lloyd, the game includes wilds, scatters, five bonus features, and a top jackpot of 30,000 credits.