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."


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!"


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.

Mario Kart 8

We hope you enjoyed this content. Be sure to share it with family and friends you think will enjoy it as well.

Game Review

Mario is, of course, a seasoned plumber ... who just so happens to love wearing red shirts and blue overalls. But he's so much more than that, proving over the decades that he's a singularly gifted "Here we go!" sort of guy. Through his 30-plus years of video game excursions he's outfoxed giant gorillas and bopped big-'ol Bowsers. He's become a champ at golf, baseball, soccer and tennis. And whether he's dancing up a storm or joining Sonic the Hedgehog at the Winter Olympics, he's still got time to pull out a wrench for a speedy fix-up along the way.

If you really wanna see this mustachioed wunderkind shine, though, get him behind the wheel of a Mario Kart. It is named after him, after all.

Let me say here that some pretty keen gamers consider the Mario Kart games to be perfectly blended racers. They present an enjoyable sense of speeding inertia and slide-through-the-corners track maneuvering that the whole family can enjoy. And at the same time, they're simple enough, control-wise, that younger gamers can pilot a Biddybuggy or Badwagon at speed without slamming into a guardrail every two seconds.

Mario Kart 8 has all those old-school go-karting basics down, adding a brand new coat of sparkling high-def paint and a couple other zip-around-the-track twists.

Baby Peach, Suiting Up
When all the Mario universe characters are unlocked and present in this game, there are 30 different racers who have a serious need for speed. That roster includes Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, Donkey Kong, a bunch of Koopas and baby versions of the guys and gals already mentioned. After choosing your favorite cockpit commander, you create your vehicle from a variety of karts, ATVs and motorcycles.

Then it's off to compete for eight sparkling Grand Prix cups of four races each. That amounts to 32 racetracks: 16 new ones and 16 spiffed up older tracks from previous games. There are also three different classes to race in: 50cc, 100cc and 150cc. Each step up in class picks up the pace ... and the challenge presented by computer-controlled opponents. Let's face it, though, the crazy tracks and easy-to-pick-up whack-'em-smack-'em doodads are what make the difference in a Mario Kart racer. So let's get right to those.

It's on to Cheep Cheep Beach
Right off the starting line the first thing racers will notice is how awesome this game's various tracks look. Whether you're racing through Thwomp Ruins with its huge falling block obstacles, or speed-ramping over giant mole holes in the Donut Plains, or zipping through Bowser's gloomy castle with its undulating roadways and laser-eyed statues, the tracks are as fun to ogle as they are to maneuver.

New anti-grav tracks automatically transform the speeding karts into thruster-boosted hover racers capable of clinging to designated surfaces in unruly defiance of the laws of physics. These world-flipping sections aren't just cool and thrilling, though. They also add to the choice of routes you can take through each course.

There are tons of colorful traps to avoid along the way on any of these raceways, but nothing scary or particularly frustrating. And if racers do find themselves ramping off a cliff in the wrong direction or sliding into a lake of bubbling fire brew, a helpful bumblebee is instantly there to rescue them and set them safely back on the roadway.

What's a Red Shell Between Friends?
Of course, besides the tricky track trip-ups, it's the other cartoony racers who are your biggest Mario Kart threat. And not necessarily because of their racing skills, but because of what items they might have up their sleeve. Along every racetrack there are mystery boxes to hit and a cornucopia of random stuff to scoop up. Some of these rainbow-colored goodies—such as the speed-revving Mushroom and the auto-pilot rocketing Bullet Bill—offer a special boost bonus. But most of the items are used as raceway "weapons."

Don't go looking for any full metal jackets in this mischief-mad world though! Instead, we find Bloopers, which shoot ink onto the goggles of the racers in front of you. Or a Banana Peel that can cause any speedster to spin out. Or a tossed Red Shell that homes in on the closest kart in front of you, knocking it over. New Mario Kart 8 items include a Boomerang Flower that can be thrown up to three times, bopping fellow racers on its return; and the Super Horn which emits an items-destroying sonic blast.

These specialty prizes obviously become a huge part of the racing strategy. Whether you're playing solo against AI opponents, locally with three close pals or online with eleven other human strategists, a good red or blue shell item can be your best hope for a last-minute sprint to the lead.

I just hope you're not racing against that one super clever dude with the big M on his cap!

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews




Readability Age Range


Sports, Arcade/Platform







Record Label


Wii U




May 30, 2014


Year Published



Bob Hoose

We hope you enjoyed this content. Be sure to share it with family and friends you think will enjoy it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!