So Marty’s in detention and Mr. Strickland is crushing Walkmen (Walkmans? Walksman? No I’m just kidding, it’s Walkmen) in his vise. Marty thinks that if Strickland dismissed him early he could still juuuuust make it to the audition in time, but then thinks “fat chance” and has “a moment of black despair”.
Marty, don’t you see? You and Strickland are two sides of the same coin! Both of you have emotions that are so crazy intense!!
Marty looks around the room for something clever enough to “create panic or some legitimate emergency” that he can use to escape, considers the sprinkler system, but can’t think of anything to do with it. Just then, Mr. Strickland destroys Marty’s Walkman and suddenly Marty has come up with the perfect escape plan!
We’re going to make this fun: how would YOU escape from this room? You have the next few paragraphs to decide. I’ll tell you right now that there’s no wrong answer because Marty has to be the gold standard here and his solution is how do I put this delicately SUPER DUMB.
While you’re busy with pencil and paper puzzling this out, I’ll let you know we get another sweet paragraph of purple prose as Strickland crushes Marty’s Walkman with:
something like renewed passion. The jaws of the vise pressed in, causing a low scraping sound, almost as if the set were crying out in pain. Then, with a particularly loud snap, the Walkman’s splintered remains shot out of the vise in all directions. Momentary panic crossed Strickland’s features as shards of plastic flew past his eyes and head.
You guys: INTENSE. Then Marty’s called up to collect his Walkman parts, and we get some more sweet lip action and baby, you know I’m not gonna leave you hangin’:
a hint of a smile played around his lips, for he had conceived of a daring plan
(I bolded 100% of that phrase because it is 100% awesome)
ALRIGHT, PENCILS DOWN. Have you figured out how to escape the room yet? Probably not! Probably because you are a human being who is not insane! Marty’s solution relies on him suddenly living in a cartoon universe with cartoon physics, and YES I know I am complaining about unrealistic physics in a narrative about a teen motorist who goes on a road trip… THROUGH TIME! But what happens next reads not as something a real person would ever attempt, but rather as the log a man stuck in an adventure game, exploiting the bizarre dream logic adventure games are infamous for.
An aside: I can 100% understand why when the screenplay editors got to this scene they said “aw geez, oh no, aw geez”, went for a long walk, got back to the office late, and then COMPLETELY REWROTE THE ENTIRE MOVIE UP TO THIS POINT.
So let’s see how Marty did! The game starts with Marty walking by the Carousel slide projector on on way back to his seat (DID YOU KNOW: this is the first time this device is mentioned as being in the room) (it goes backwards and forwards and takes us to a place where we ache to go again). I’ve put in bold wherever I lifted narration verbatim from the book.
Welcome to MARTY QUEST. You are Marty McFly, 80s teen! You are stuck in a detention room after school. You need to escape the room otherwise you can’t play in your band for tryouts tonight! The YMCA is counting on you!
Mr. Strickland is here. There is a slide projector here. What do you do?
> talk strickland
He is too busy smushing Walkmen to respond.
> look slide projector
It is a Carousel slide projector, the kind used by schools everywhere. The lens looks like it’s removable.
> take lens
You take the lens.
> sit desk
You sit at your desk.
You are carrying: stick of gum, matchbook, rubber band, slide projector lens
> chew gum
You take the stick of gum, and chew it. Your chewing is not that of a person seeking pleasure; rather, it resembles a chore that has to be accomplished as quickly as possible.
You are now carrying chewed gum. (An aside: DO YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING, ANY PLAN INVOLVING BUBBLEGUM LIKE THIS IS DUMB, IT’S SO DUMB)
> use gum on matchbook
You press the gum onto the matchbook. It looks like a tiny pancake. You are now carrying gummy matchbook.
> use gummy matchbook on rubber band
You load the gummy matchbook into the rubber band. What do you want to fire it at?
There is a smoke detector a dozen feet away.
There is a Mr. Strickland fifteen feet away.
> shoot strickland
Great Scott! I don’t think that’s a good idea, Marty!
> shoot smoke detector
Like a rocket, the matchbook races up to the ceiling and hangs there, the gum making a tenuous connection.
> use slide projector lens on gummy matchbook
You pretend to study as you discreetly take the projector lens and adjust it so that the bright slanting rays of the afternoon sun strike it and are refracted onto the matchbook stuck to the ceiling. A sharp pin prick of light is focused on the matchbook. If only the sun would hurry up and do its thing!
The matchbook will catch fire in 2 turn(s). (SCIENCE CORNER: refraction is about changing the direction of a wave, not focusing it; please do not learn science while reading this)
Mr. Strickland is closing the blinds for no reason!
> shout “No!” but only at near-shout volume
Mr. Strickland is still closing the blinds for no reason! The three rear rows of the room are now in semi-darkness as a result of Strickland’s action. The matchbook will catch fire in 1 turn(s).
> whisper “come on, come on, burn, you sucker, burn”
Poof! A mini explosion of flame appears. The matchbook is now on fire. Sirens and the sprinkler system are triggered. Panic, or something very close to it, follows.
Congratulations! You have completed Marty’s Quest!
Hey! We scored 1.21 out of a possible 1.21 points!