WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Game Review

After 15 years—a veritable eternity in the gaming universe—Duke Nukem is back. Back for more alien slaying. More stripper squeezing. And more urinal using. Among other things.

Duke first strode into gamers' lives back in 1991 as a side-scrolling platformer, cutting through aggressive aliens as if they were Jell-O jigglers left out on a Florida front porch. But Duke's career really began heating up with Duke Nukem 3D, a massively successful 1996 release that pitted the protagonist against a marauding horde of extraterrestrials determined to take over Los Angeles.

When he wasn't bashing E.T.'s brains out, Duke was dashing through porn shops and encouraging strippers to perform for him. In addition, that game also allowed players the ability to shoot innocent women. No surprise that Duke Nukem 3D received its own volley of defcon-level crit for promoting pornography and murder. But that didn't keep the game from selling 3.5 million copies. The following year, the inevitable sequel was announced.

But the game became a victim of its own success, according to Wired magazine. In his continuing quest to make the franchise (including its requisite strippers) as realistic as possible, game designer George Broussard kept tinkering with it until most folks assumed it'd never be released—something like the video game equivalent of Guns N' Roses' mythic Chinese Democracy. So much so that the phantom title earned Wired's Vaporware Award six years running (vaporware being a term for promised hardware or software that's never delivered). So when Nukem development company 3D Realms was shuttered in 2009, it appeared as if the Duke had shot his last alien and received his last lap dance.

Wow. Don't I wish that were true. Like an unholy zombie, Nukem began scratching his way out of his gaming grave last year, finally shambling into big-box stores in 2011. And the result is, fittingly, much like a zombie itself: It's slow, dumb and stinks.

Raunch Reloaded
Duke Nukem Forever has received some scathing reviews from secular game critics, with many calling out its interminably long load screens and dated sense of humor. "It's supposed to be simple, raunchy, over-the-top fun," writes USA Today's Brett Molina. "There's one problem: It forgot the fun part. At its worst, it borders on offensive. … At its best, it's corny and juvenile."

Indeed, gameplay is not only crass and gross (more on that in a minute), but tedious. It takes hard work to slog through the game, the storyline of which again revolves around mowing down an alien army, this time in Las Vegas.

Duke can slay aliens with an assortment of eviscerating terrestrial and extraterrestrial weapons. But if such armament isn't available, he can hurl trash cans or golden statuettes in the invaders' direction—or just bludgeon them with his fists, particularly if he pops a handful of steroids and goes into what the game calls "'roid rage" Another example of chemical "enhancement": Beer makes Duke tougher at the cost of blurring his vision.

Blood and body parts fly around like plastic grocery bags on a windy day. Duke kicks an alien eye through a set of goalposts for a gruesome field goal at one point. Elsewhere, he pounds a xenomorph's giant testicles like a boxing speed bag. Most loathsome, perhaps, is a sequence in which Duke discovers a bevy of female earthlings who've been impregnated by their alien overlords. Duke can either let the pregnancies take their course—in which case the women explode—or "put them out of their misery" by shooting them.

Then there's Duke Nukem Forever 's hard-M sexual content. The game barely begins before we see scantily clad twins emerge from the bottom of the screen—apparently after performing oral sex on Duke. Strippers cavort, their nipples covered with pasties. Various anatomically correct statues litter Las Vegas. And to complete one particular level, Duke must go to a strip club (with a name too salacious to repeat here), locate several items (popcorn, a condom and a vibrator) and give them to a stripper, whereupon she'll "reward" his efforts with a lap dance.

Sorry, but there's more: The very first button you push helps Duke relieve himself in a urinal. If he explores the bathroom further, he can reach into toilets and pick up feces if he feels like it. And do I even need to mention profanity at this point? Because there's plenty of that, too, including a fusillade of f-words, s-words and offensive sexual slurs. Duke's also fond of offering obscene gestures to difficult adversaries before finishing them off.

Nuclear Waste
Perhaps the most frightening thing about Duke Nukem Forever is that much of its crass content is the sort of stuff that immature adolescents might snicker at. And yet it all takes place in a game specifically branded for gamers 17 and up. Does this mean that the designers hope underage gamers will play? Or do they assume that gamers' sensibilities are growing ever more infantile? Both of those scenarios are a little scary, if you ask me.

Duke Nukem Forever is a botched effort, from top to bottom, beginning to end. Perhaps if the game fails—as seems likely right now—its creators will be able to move on to more rewarding, creative and intrinsically better endeavors. Perhaps the dirty Duke will finally be able to rest in pieces.

Forever.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!