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Back to the Future (Data East, 1990) VP9

VP9 Data East SS Recreation Back to the Future (Data East, 1990) VP9 v1.31 [16-9] 2020-01-28

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Data East 1990
IPD No. 126

"Back to the Future" Rules Sheet, version 1.2 (January 9, 1993)

By Michael Dunn

a540mrd@pic.ucla.edu on the Internet
"Major Kira" on the ISCA BBS - whip.isca.uiowa.edu
"DGIF Mike" on QuantumLink
"DDS" on the high score boards at UCLA


"Back to the Future" marked the start of the Data East trend of getting
the rights to well-known names and slapping them on their pins. There are
various references to the movies all over the game, including pictures of
Christopher Lloyd (as Doc. Emmett Brown) but not Michael J. Fox. The pictures
of Marty McFly don't show the person's face, and the hair definitely is not
Fox's. The voice used in place of Fox's is rather pitiful, as well.
There are two major point-scoring objectives: the unlimited million round
and multiball. These two rounds are independent of each other, and you can
have both going at the same time. There aren't very many side awards to
collect along the way, so getting the two rounds is your best bet for high
The LCD display is a 2-line, 16-character-per-line version (identical to
the display found on Williams's Taxi and later pins) so the highest score you
can record is 100 million.


I'm writing this rule sheet entirely from memory, so forgive my occasional
inaccuracies. If you have corrections/suggestions/spare $20 bills, please mail
them to me at any of the addresses at the top of this rule sheet (preferably
the Internet address).
Any info that I'm not sure about will be marked with a question mark, just
so you know that it's a guess.
"Back to the Future" is a trademark of Universal Pictures, and "Multiball"
is a trademark of Williams/Bally. Yes, you read that right. Williams just
hadn't sicked their lawyers on Data East yet, so the name "Multiball" appears
in this game even though it shouldn't.
I will use the abbreviation "K" for a thousand points and "M" for a
million points.

General Layout

Starting at the lower-left corner and going clockwise, here's what you'll find
on "Back to the Future."

Left in/outlane: The outlane can be lit for a special, and the inlane lights
the ramps to advance the ramp award sequence. A white light at the top of
the inlane flashes to let you know that the ramps will spot the next award.
No kickback (cheer!).

"Hey McFly!"
McFLY standup targets: These targets are very low and at the far left of the
board. You must hit M first, then c, then F, etc., but there is no penalty
for hitting a target out of order, nor do the targets time out. Completing
the targets the first time during a ball increases the spinner value. After
that, they just award a bonus. **WARNING** When you complete the targets,
most of the general illumination turns off and the McFLY lights flash,
making the ball *very* difficult to see for about 2 seconds. McFLY does not
carry over between balls, and the spinner value resets after each ball.

Left Ramp: This is a narrow ramp that feeds the right inlane. All the ramp
parts are made of clear plastic. This shot can collect various awards,
including the Skill Shot, multiball Jackpot, loops, DELOREAN letters, and
million. Above the entrance are three lights labeled "Skill shot, Jackpot,
Unlimited Millions." The appropriate light(s) will flash to indicate what
awards are available. There are also lights on the board below the entrance
that indicate the Skill Shot award.

Lock Saucer: This is placed between the left ramp and the bumpers. It has
walls on both sides, so a ball has almost no chance of falling in here by
accident. Shoot here to lock balls, and collect an extra ball when lit.
Balls are kicked up and on to a habitrail that feeds the left inlane.

Lock mechanism: This is just a metal piece situated under the habitrail that
rotates up to catch balls, and down to release them.

DMC drop targets: Three drop targets, placed below the bumpers. Each target
has a red light in front of it to indicate if it is available (flashing)
collected (steady) or not available (off). The targets are used to light
locks and jackpots.

Bumpers: There are 3 bumpers, behind the drop targets. They do nothing
special, just award points. The ball will enter the bumpers after a shot
thru the spinner.

Spinner: Each spin adds to the Biff's Casino bonus, which is awarded at the
end of the game. If McFLY has not yet been completed during the ball, each
spin awards 1090(?) points, and if it has been completed, each spin awards
5K(?). There is a large circular yellow light on the board in front of the
spinner that indicates the spinner's value: steady for the lower value,
flashing for the higher value.

Clock Tower saucer: This is located between the spinner and the right ramp.
It is *very* shallow and will not always hold a quickly shot-in ball. It
also can kick a ball straight down the middle, so I suggest jiggling the
machine as the ball is being kicked out.
During one-ball play, shooting this saucer will award the flashing Clock
Tower award. The awards are (I'm not sure about a couple of them, and
there's one more that I've forgotten):
50K, 100K, 50K + hold bonus, light Extra Ball (self explanatory)
Turbo Bumpers (increases the value of the bumpers)
Bonus at 5x (just what it says)
Millions (immediately spots all DELOREAN letters and starts the million
round; if the million round is already going, time will be added to
the timer)
After you collect all 8 awards, all 8 lights will flash. Hitting the saucer
one more time awards 500K and resets the awards. The flashing award is
changed by the spinner. The awards you collect are carried over between

Right Ramp: This ramp is also clear plastic, feeds the right inlane, and has
3 status lights just like the left ramp. This ramp's entrance is very wide,
but has a rather small sweet spot because the right side of the upslope runs
straight back (to accommodate the plunger shot). A ball that falls down the
ramp will hit a one-way gate at the exit of the plunger lane and bounce
wildly away. In other words, if you miss the shot to the right, the ball
will go *clunk* against the right side of the entrance, rattle around, and
fall back down.

DOC standup targets: These targets are placed low and on the right, and face
directly leftward. They awards Bonus multipliers (up to a max of 6x)
and light the outlane Specials.
Each target has a light in front of it to indicate its value. Here's how
they work:
At the start of each ball, one target will be flashing. Hitting that target
ONLY will advance the Bonus X and start another target flashing. Hitting
either of the other targets will spot it; you must now hit the other 2 to
advance the Bonus X. The single flashing light will time-out after a while,
and another target will begin flashing.
However, once the Bonus X reaches 5x, you must hit all 3 targets to advance
the multiplier to 6x. The first time you do this, the outlanes lite for
special. Completing the targets after the multiplier is at 6x awards a
bonus of 100K(?). I don't remember if the multiplier is held by the
Bonus Hold award from the Clock Tower.
One outlane is lit at a time, and Special remains lit throughout the
game until it's collected. The Special CAN be lane-changed with the flipper
buttons. (sure wish TZ had that!)

Right in/outlanes: Similar to the left side, with the same lights.

Plunger: A manual plunger. Plunging at full strength will send the ball up
the right ramp. This is what you should do in order to collect the skill

Ramp Sequence lights: Yellow lights just in front of the flippers that
indicate the ramp sequence awards you have collected.

Flippers & Slingshots: 2 of each, in the usual places.

The Skill Shot

The skill shot is available every time you plunge a ball. To collect it,
plunge the ball around the right ramp, then immediately shoot the left ramp.
Possible awards are:
100K x ball in play
Extra Ball
Double Score: Your score is immediately doubled
Take High Score: Your score immediately becomes the current game's highest
score. This never appears in a one-player game.
Only the "100K x ball in play" award will be given on balls plunged after a
lock. Any award may be given on the first plunge of a ball.
You have to be doing pretty poorly to get the EB award.

DELOREAN Million Round

Except for the Skill Shot shots, each ramp shot spots a letter in
DELOREAN. The letters you have spotted are shown on a panel above and behind
the bumpers. Lighting all the letters starts a 12-second timer. Each ramp
shot then scores 1M until the timer runs out.
The timer never stops running, so try to keep the ball away from the
bumpers and saucers during this round.
This round progresses independently of Multiball, and you can start it
during Multiball.
Later Million rounds start with less time, down to a minimum of 6 seconds.

Other Ramp Awards

The ramps also have a sequence award. When the ball rolls thru either
inlane, a white light above the inlane will flash for a few seconds, indicating
that either ramp will award the next lit sequence award. There are 6 awards
(25K, 50K, 75K, 100K, 125K, Lite Extra Ball) each having its own light. The
flashing light indicates the next point value that will be awarded, except
in the case of the first, which flashes only after an inlane is hit. The
award value will time out and decrease one level after a while if not
The sequence resets after each ball, and once you light the extra ball
from the sequence, later inlane-to-ramp shots on the same ball award 125K.
The ramps still award DELOREAN letters along with the sequence awards. I
don't remember if the sequence is awarded during Multiball.

Hitting either ramp, then immediately hitting the left ramp adds one to
the loop counter. Beating the current loop champ's number of loops awards 500K
as soon as you beat the record. Loops are awarded in addition to anything
else that may be lit at the left ramp, in either one-ball or Multiball play.
When you beat the loop record, you enter your initials at the end of
the game.


"A severe thunderstorm is headed for Hill Valley."

First, a note about the locks. For the first Multiball, you must hit all
3 DMC drop targets to light a lock, and you can stack up to 3 locks. The
second time, you cannot stack locks. On subsequent multiballs, you must hit
the DMC targets in order, and hitting a target out of order resets all the
targets, and you must start over with the D target. The game will usually
allow you to hit D and M when D is lit, and M and C when M is lit, and give you
credit for both targets -- usually.
You have to lock 3 balls to start Multiball. If someone else you're
playing with starts his/her own multiball and leaves fewer balls in the
lock than you had during your turn, the game will automatically light
enough locks at the Lock Saucer to get you back to the number of locked
balls that you had.
Conversely, you can NOT steal other players' locked balls. If there are
three balls in the lock mechanism when you lock a ball for lock number 1 or
2, play will resume with a ball being released out of the lock mechanism.

Now, on to Multiball.

"Roads? Where we're going we don't need...roads."

When Multiball starts, one ball at a time is released down the habitrail
and into the left inlane. You must hit the DMC targets to light the jackpots.
Once you do so, shoot the ramps to collect the jackpot awards. The first shot
to a ramp scores 500K, the second 750K, and the third 1M. Each ramp has its
own jackpot, and the two are independent of one another. The awards you have
collected are indicated by lights on the bottom of the backglass. Collecting
all 6 jackpots scores an additional 1M. To relight the jackpots, you must
shoot DMC in order.(big ?)
If you do not collect all 6 jackpots, those that you do collect are held
over to the next Multiball round, and you will not have to hit DMC to light

Miscellaneous Stuff

When you light an extra ball, shoot the Lock Saucer to collect it. Extra
balls can be stacked, but they will all disappear if you lose the ball without
collecting them.

During Multiball, shoot the Lock Saucer 4 times to light an extra ball.
You don't have to collect the extra ball during Multiball, though.

Closing Credits

Whew! I hope this rule sheet helps you out, if only a little bit :>
Thanx to Josh Lehan (jlehan@cymbal.aix.calpoly.edu) for filling in the gaps
in my memory (namely, the bonus-x, and better info on the skill shot).

"Your future is whatever you make it...so make it a good one!"

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