How would Marty find the real 2015?

Credit where credit’s due; Frazzles had this thought in this thread.

Also granted it’s not 2015, but we’re pretty damn close enough to make some educated guess - and they’ll no doubt be a surfeit of threads asking where our hoverboards are then.

So, Marty McFly is a typical '80s teen who believes in the power of love and rock n roll. He comes to October, 2015 (the real one) from October 1985. What are his reactions?

I’ll start with the obvious; the internets. Being able to search for any type of information you like, entire encyclopaedias able to be summoned at will. And it will mostly be used for videos of cats.

The miniaturisation of technology. A walkman, phone, the above internets, games console and more in a device about the size of a pack of playing cards.

That the USSR has been gone for at least 20 years and North Korea and fanatic muslims are the new boogeymen.

What else would he find as mind-blowing as Jaws 19?

Well it’s off by a few years but the obvious non-surprise would be “Huh, Denver’s still losing Superbowls…('87,‘88’,90)”. We had computers and BBS’s back in the 80’s so the internet wouldn’t be that unbelievable to him. I do think he’d be amazed by how big and powerful cars have become. A Honda the size of a Plymouth with over 200 HP would be surprising to someone used to the tiny CVCC breadboxes running around in 1985.

Video games would blow his mind. They blow my mind sometimes and I didn’t even jump 30 years into the future.

I think open-world stuff would be the most surprising considering how linear games were back then; remember how everyone shit themselves over GTAIII.

That and how popular they are. Were video games even mentioned in BttF’s 2015? I can’t remember any reference. That said, he might be surprised that ‘virtual reality’ has been shot in the back of the head and kicked in a ditch after the Virtual Boy disaster, I remember at one point everyone thought that was the future of gaming.

Oculus Rift?

That thing is getting big time support from the biggest names in the industry, and it’s affordable(ish), too.

The size of the TVs and smartphones in general would be pretty shocking. Also as a kid who liked rock music he probably would be turned off by our current pop but really a kid from 1985 could probably fit right in in a really short amount of time.

“You have to use your hands? It’s like a baby toy!”

Thanks for starting the thread!

I think at first glance, Marty would be a little disappointed that the future isn’t as futuristic as he was probably hoping. Cars still look like cars, clothing styles are different but they still work the same way (no self lacing shoes or auto drying jackets). Hill Valley is fictional, but if it was a typical smallish town from 1985 he’d probably be saddened that most of the stores would now be shuttered up having lost business to mega stores. However, Hill Valley appears to be more of a suburb, so it would probably be significantly bigger and busier than he was expecting which might throw Marty for a loop.

Back in 1985 Japan seemed poised to take over the US, according to Marty “They make all the best stuff”. Sony was such a big deal in 1985 with the Walkman which was so revolutionary that Marty used it in 1955 to show how futuristic he was. But now we have the iPod, and it’s made by Apple. Apple! The computer people!

The biggest deal for him would be smart phones and tablets. That one tiny device can call from anywhere, text, use GPS, access dictionaries and encyclopedias, take pictures, record video, watch TV, play music (and at better quality than his walkman!) play games, and behave as a computer would be beyond amazing. Remember how revolutionary the camcorder was in the first film? Now that fits in his pocket. Remember how advanced computers seemed in 1985? More power than that fits in that same pocket. Video phones are practical. Books and magazines (interactive!) all fit on those same devices. GPS - the idea that the device knows exactly where you are and can tell you where to go! Flat screens! The internet, at first glance, would probably not grab his attention too much because I think it’s too big to take in at a glance. He’d be amazed at how connected things are, but I don’t think he’d comprehend just how influential that connection truly is in our world. And as mentioned above, the video games would probably grab his attention so thoroughly that I’m not sure Marty would leave the store.

Thugs and bullies were more visible in 1985 hence the character of Biff. The movie carried that into the future but I think Marty would be surprised at the relative lack of “bad kids”. This might be my own bias (I was 13 in 1985) but I think the push against bullying has pushed that activity into darker corners - something that Marty just walking around wouldn’t see directly unless he stayed here for any length of time.

I don’t have a full answer for you yet, but remember that Marty basically spent half a day in the future and most of that was spent trying to not be seen by anyone who could recognize him. He didn’t really get a chance to fully explore everything that was different about today from 1985. So perhaps our answers should be tailored towards the really big changes that no one could possibly miss if coming here from 30 years in the past.

Would it still go through a DeLorean like it was tinfoil?

The quantity and variety of free porn on the internet would astound him.

AKA the first film role for a young Elijah Wood

The biggest change is social. The first thing he would notice is that people don’t walk around with their heads up any more. How can you catch a pretty girl’s eye when she’s staring at a phone? Then he’d notice everyone on their phone while driving and he’d think, “WTF is so important that everyone has to talk on their phone about it all the time??”

Then he might utter a few words in more liberal circles like “Fag” or “Retard” that would get him some harsh glares.

I’m pretty sure he’d be aghast at what passes for radio pop music.

Airports would look like max security prisons.

edit: and HDTV. He probably wouldn’t leave the house for a month because of HDTV.

How could I forget about Wild Gunmen, at least 1885 has more respect for his skills. With motion-sensor controls all the rage these days with next-gen consoles this isn’t that far off.

I thought about this too, but he did come from the 80s so he would be well attuned to fresh atrocity in the pop charts. Saying that, he’d probably be surprised that hip-hop and rap have become so popular.

“Gay marriage? That’s so gay!”

I was thinking about how sci-fi movies from the eighties portrayed future computer displays: a lot used wire-frame graphics on (usually monochrome) monitors.

While he might not be as surprised with minitiarization (which is, I think, foreseeable even in the eighties), I think he might be wow’d by the flat screen, hi-def computer displays (and the stuff they can do). I don’t think he’d be surprised by the size of that huge wall screen TV shown in the second film. But the quality of the picture, and the quality of the graphics in graphics-intensive stuff (for example, games or, video/photo editing software).

Very true - the attention people give to their devices would probably seem pretty comical to him.

There’s a bigger change in music style from 1955 to 1985 than there is from 1985 to 2015. Sure, there’s differences, but I’m not sure that Marty would be so quick to dismiss it. I think he’d be fascinated to be hearing the sounds of things his friends wouldn’t hear for decades. Certainly he’d be more inclined to like some genres over others.

The level of security in general would probably confuse and frustrate him. To his eyes we would probably appear police state like. 30 years of history and social changes would be tough to absorb for him and he’d probably just end up accepting what he sees for what it is.

Yep - give him a remote control and “the guide” and watch him go. He’s from a time before Dances with Wolves so he’d probably think Avatar was the greatest movie ever made (should it be airing somewhere). Regardless of how mindless reality TV is, everything would be fresh to him.
As mentioned above, most of these are issues that he’d see if he stayed here for a week or so which I think is fair to talk about. The only reason the movie cut the future visit so short is because there’s only so many predictions the filmmakers wanted to make.

I think the thing to remember about this scenario is that Marty didn’t have a guide, showing him all the new fancy technology. Thus he’s not going to notice things like the internet and video games.

If someone came into the present and spent half a day walking the streets, running from some bullies, and sneaking into someone’s house on a recon mission, what changes would they notice?

I think the smartphones would be a big one. Everyone staring at a device and typing into it would seem pretty bizarre. The outdoor video screens would be eye-catching but probably not all that surprising. The cars would certainly look much sleeker and curvier than Marty was used to, and he might even notice that most families are now driving around in large truckish vehicles similar to the one he was so excited about back in 1985. If he talked to some teens, he might be surprised that the majority of them could care less about Rock 'n Roll and were way more into teen performers who dance and pretend to sing and hip-hop culture.

He might also notice that there are now coffee shops on every street corner for some reason, and cell phone stores would seem odd too. If he ran into an EV charging station, that might seem pretty odd, but not nearly as significant as flying cars.

I think the social media culture might get noticed – people snapping pictures constantly and worrying what thousands of strangers think about them.

Overall, though, I think Marty would be a little let down by how little things have changed. Everything would seem a little more crowded, cluttered and built up, but other than everyone spending way too much time in their virtual worlds on their phones, not much has changed out in the real world.

I concur. Cars still drive the way they did, planes still fly the way they did, fashion hasn’t changed a whole lot for conservative dressers (I could have easily bought what I’m wearing now in 1985), and even music hasn’t exactly had a revolution. Digital communication and computing would be the biggest changes by far - the concept that ANYONE can look up practically ANYTHING, ANY TIME, ANYWHERE is quite a trip. The rather blase acceptance of homosexuality would probably be a bit of a jolt, too.

…and when he got through security, they’d look like shopping malls.