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

It's been over a decade since the first Starcraft strafed gamers' PCs. And by video game standards, well, that's a very, very, long time ago indeed. Much has changed since then. But fans who've been on pins and needles waiting for this sequel will find that the real-time strategy core of what made the original game a huge hit has remained intact. And everything else has simply been buffed to a high-tech sheen.

Never heard of it? Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a T-rated RTS PC game that's currently selling like hotcakes and has the entire gaming community buzzing—partly because this sequel is actually the first of three Starcraft "episodes" which will present the action from different species' perspectives. This first one is composed of a series of military strategy missions in outer space that are wrapped up in a sort of space-cowboy adventure tale.

Some Assembly Required
The RTS side of the title is well-designed and as straightforward and intuitive as the genre gets. With each mission, players are given a variety of sci-fi military units that they can control and move around on a good-sized map. But before battling bad guys or rescuing good ones, you must manage your resources: building bases, fueling production with local minerals and natural gases, and then building up the forces best suited for the job at hand.

Will you produce a corps of fast-moving marines or a few heavily armored marauders? Will you crank out flame-throwing Hellion dune buggies or a cannon-loaded robot mech? It's all up to you. And with each mission accomplished, new units are at your command and your strategic choices become more varied.

The missions themselves become more diverse as well. Battle missions, defense missions, rescue missions and race-against-the-clock missions are all part of the mix. For example, one heart-pumping quest demands that forces are mobile enough to stay ahead of a deadly wall of flame that's slowly enveloping the world they're on. Another features creatures that can't stand the sunlight but become incredibly powerful adversaries at night.

Resistance Is Useful
Cutscenes before and after each mission tie the gaming threads together and add a whole new dimension to Starcraft II. They're elaborate HD creations that are so well-crafted, beautifully scored and character-driven that they almost make the game feel film-like as they explore its intricate storyline.

The 26th-century action follows a large, gruff guy named Jim Raynor. He talks with a Southern growl and can usually be found belly up at the Cantina when he isn't out leading a rebel force against the current Terran (human) dictator. Raynor also has to deal with two other threats in this neck of the galaxy: the Protoss, a humanoid group with advanced tech and psionic abilities; and the Zerg, a race of insectoid aliens that hopes to obtain genetic perfection by assimilating other races.

(Even before the other two episodes arrive, online multiplayer action lets gamers compete as any of the three main species.)

The Way of the West
With all that cinematic action and RTS battling, how messy does this space Western get? Not excessively. But it does have a few "missed the spittoon" moments. The RTS segments deliver a bird's-eye view of the battles, so we experience little more than longshots of missile hits and laser blasts. Tiny figures erupt into flames, dissolve with acid and splat in a splash of goo. But the more visually descriptive cutscenes contain occasional blood spray, too.

An ex-con compatriot of Raynor's has a cigar constantly pinched between his teeth. Both men let loose a little raw language (the s-word, "d‑‑n," "b‑‑ch" and "a‑‑"). Whiskey sometimes seems to be Raynor's best friend. A holograph of a bikini-clad dancer gyrates on an upper landing in the Cantina. And near the end of the game, a cutscene shows a naked woman obscured by shadows and floating mist.

Those are my only complaints, but by registering them at all I'm well aware that they don't line up with what everyone else is saying about this game. Metacritic reprints this from gamers.at: "The biggest complaint that come to my mind is that I've got to wait for the other two episodes. [Starcraft II] might not revolutionize the genre, but it doesn't allow itself any shortcomings either. The campaign is exciting, the cutscenes are awesome and the multiplayer is in a league of its own."

1UP's Kat Bailey adds, "I doubt it will completely repopularize the genre as we once knew it, since the world has moved on in the past decade or so. But StarCraft II does have mainstream gamers talking about build orders and micromanagement, which is honestly something I never thought I would hear again. Just in that, I consider StarCraft II a minor miracle.

Maybe. But I still think there's more to gaming than just cool mechanics. So I say, Look at the whole picture—in real time, if you will. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty's portrait isn't miserably ugly, but not all of van Gogh's brush strokes are perfect, either.

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!