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.


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

Game Review

LEGOs and Lincoln Logs. Back when I was a kid—oh, a hundred years or so ago—those were the building blocks of dreams. With a big ol' bucket full of interconnecting blocks or notched miniature logs, you could pretty much build whatever your imagination might dictate. Of course, the building joy was never limited to just kids. I've known adults who love building elaborate LEGO constructs and spend months on Lincoln Log cities.

All of that, of course, is now the low-tech stuff of yesteryear. If you really want unlimited inventive building in this day and age, there's a hip virtual place to go where no bucket of blocks is required. It's a video game called Minecraft, a title designed originally just for your PC, but which can now also be purchased for the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. And once this game latches on to your imagination, it grips tight!

Digging In
Getting started in the Minecraft world is relatively easy. Single-player gamers are plopped down in a randomly generated 3-D panorama of forests, mountain ranges, deserts, open golden plains or frigid ice fields. It's a different-every-time biome that's vast and pretty ... and pretty primitive-looking since it's all made out of virtual blocks. See what I mean? Even your own little avatar guy looks like he stepped out of an 8-bit game from oh so long ago.

As you slide into your avatar's cube-ish shoes, though, you quickly realize that the undisturbed landscape around you is not meant to be left undisturbed. It's not meant to be just looked at. It's meant, instead, to be molded and shaped into pretty much anything you can dream up.

With a bit of experimentation you find that the blocky bits of the world can be broken down and turned into raw materials. And those raw materials can be used to build things. Start by chopping down a tree or digging up a chunk of ground, which will give you dirt, stone and wood that you can use to form rudimentary tools, which then help you more quickly break down and build things back up.

That sounds awfully basic, doesn't it? But as you discover new resources, you also discover that the game's crafting mechanic is a very complex system incorporating hundreds of different "recipes." The right discovered combinations, laid out in a crafting table menu, can allow you to concoct incredible structures and mechanisms—from magic armor to intricate puzzle mazes to enormous castles with a moat and drawbridge.

Day and Night, Night and Day
Creative mode lets gamers get into the rhythm of digging down to richer resources, exploring caves, excavating mountainsides and developing the whole mix-and-match process of crafting. And the console games' tutorial section helps flesh out all the many crafting possibilities. In this gaming mode, you can fly about and discover that certain rare minerals can help you shape more elaborate items like electric circuits, healing potions, powered carts or enchanted books that can give your tools and weapons some harder-to-break staying power. But truthfully, it's Survival mode that's the segment of the game where things start feeling like a—well, like a game. And this is the area where most players will gravitate.

Playing solo—or with up to seven other people on special PS4 or Xbox One online servers—you learn that building is still key, but now there's a bit more challenge tossed into the mix. A day/night cycle exposes builders to varying stimulus, some of it good, some bad. Along with the regular critters that might be roaming the woods (such as sheep that can offer wool, chickens sporting feathers, or pigs and cows that can be brought down for meat and leather) there are predators afoot. Giant blocky spiders, growling zombies, exploding creepers and arrow-flinging skeletons are the sorts who generally stick to their dark caves during the day, but at night they wander the world freely.

You must begin thinking, then, about creating a shelter before the sun sets. You'll need to craft a pickax and seek out some coal for a fire that'll keep the beasties at bay while you cook up your meal. You'll need to think about a sword or a bow with some arrows. A door might be a good thing. And how about mixing sand and fire for glass windows so you can see what's outside? A hard-to-shamble-up stairway, maybe? Or how about stocking some regenerative food in a storage chest just in case you need an emergency boost?

What to Do When the Sun Goes Down
The baddies aren't that scary, of course. They're made of blocks, too, after all. But there is some bloodless battling if they catch you unawares in the dark. Smack them just the right way and they disappear in a blink of smoke. But if they land enough repeated blows, say, in the narrow confines of a darkened cave, the monsters can take you down to the point of death—where you lose all the crafting loot you may be carrying before you're randomly regenerated somewhere out in that wide open world.

Those who stick with the block-building long enough will eventually discover that Minecraft holds other secret dimensions to explore. Once gamers find the enchanted bits to build special transporting portals (pieced-together contraptions that definitely require some rare ingredients) they can shoot through them to gather unique ores and supplies. One place you can go is called the Nether; it's an underground dark land filled with rivers of flowing lava, magma monsters and zombie pigmen. It's not quite a full-on representation of hell, but it'll make you think about that kind of otherworldly locale, boasting, as it does, blocky witches and even a big boss Ender Dragon.

More than merely being a content concern, though, these dark-loving creatures serve something of a higher purpose here: spurring players to lend a little enhanced creativity to their crafting. To put a little figurative muscle to their building as the day turns to night. Of course that doesn't completely erase them from the downside column, but it does smudge them up a bit.

It also helps point us away from the dark side, as it were, and toward the rampant creativity and unfettered imagination that rule this land. Rule it so rigorously that once you start poking around Minecraft's secret nooks and crannies, building your first lava-spurting mega-fortress or figuring out how to stage your favorite Star Wars scene in 3-D block form, you may find that the months it takes to build a Lincoln Log city is ... child's play.

A postscript: The console versions of this game offer a wide variety of "textures" that can be purchased and layered over your play. A "festive" texture, for instance, offers up a Santa's Village-like set of surroundings with lots of colored lights and bright gift wrap. Other possibilities, though, such as the Skyrim or Halo textures, have you mining and crafting in worlds that reflect the sights and sounds of popular M-rated video games (though they don't incorporate the M-minded levels of messy content).

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


Puzzle, Sim, Strategy, Arcade/Platform, Action/Adventure, Combat







Record Label


PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Smartphone, Tablet


Mojang,Microsoft Game Studios,Sony


November 18, 2011


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!