So maybe we still need roads where we are going, but the creators of Back to the Future II (1989) were not entirely off base when they presented their version of 2015, a future set 30 years after the original 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox. While lists of various sizes can be found celebrating the fortunate and unfortunate predictions of this movie, the following are the three best examples (in this author’s opinion) from Back to the Future II of tech fortune-telling at its finest.
1. Controller-Free Video Games
While video games which require a person to “use their hands” have not quite been universally relegated to the category of “baby’s toy,” the existence of hands-free video games is now a reality. In 2010, the primary example of this was Microsoft’s X-Box Kinect. Further innovations in hands-free gaming include former Valve engineer Ben Krasnow’s posture-based game controller and tongue-controlled mouse prototypes. Just imagine the applications for these products, including making gaming more-accessible for the physically disabled!
Posture-Based Game Controller
2. Motion Pictures in 3D
In addition to the bonus “prediction” of Hollywood’s continued obsession with sequels (and the irony of this prediction being made IN a sequel), suggesting 3D movies would be a big thing in 2015 was right on the money. However, many people mistakenly think going to the movie theater and paying extra to watch a 3D movie with special glasses is a relatively new phenomenon. It is not. John Hayes, editor of Widescreen Movies Magazine, gives a brief history of 3d movies in his article, “You See Them with Glasses!”. In his article, Hayes gives the birth year of 3D projection as 1856. Thankfully, we can also discard the notion of a Jaws 19 sequel, as the last movie in this unfortunate franchise, Jaws: The Revenge, was released in 1987.
3. Flat-Panel Screens
The appearance of flat viewing screens for everything from televisions on the wall to handheld electronic devices was an impressively uncanny prediction. The television in our house in 1985 was a bulky console with a dozen stainless steel buttons and an oak finish. Personal computers such as the Commodore 64 were considered a luxury by many, and handheld computers would definitely have been deemed science fiction at this point. Predicting a future populated with wall-mounted televisions in 16×9 widescreen format, not to mention handheld computers, was a stroke of genius.
The movie Back to the Future II gave viewers a very detailed representation of what 2015 might look like. While the movie included a multitude of predictions about the future (some uncannily accurate, others not so much), the availability of controller-free video games, 3D motion pictures, and flat-panel television and computer screens were three technological predictions which came to fruition in the 30 years following the movie’s original 1985 setting. There are many more interesting glimpses of 2015 in this movie, which we invite you to share with us in the comments below.