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

Game Review

I carefully crept along the edge of the wall, my M-60 machine gun at the ready. The Marine across the street signaled that it was OK for me to round the corner of the building. Carefully, I peeked around the edge—and stepped right in front of an enemy ambush. I was toast.

Fortunately, the “enemy” in that instance were fellow Marines. We were training at Camp Pendleton’s “combat town,” the base’s simulated urban environment.

That encounter 30-some years ago came to mind as I began playing Close Combat: First to Fight, a first-person shooter video game that features Marines fighting in the streets of Beirut, Lebanon. It was a reminder of the sheer scariness of urban combat, where death awaits you around every corner and lurks behind every window and on every rooftop.

Rambo Not Welcome Here
I'm a bit surprised, but I am still happy to report that First to Fight actually tries to minimize the amount of killing players engage in. Based on a U.S. Marine Corps training model for urban warfare, with tactics much more advanced than what we had decades ago, this game encourages leadership, teamwork and restraint, not wholesale slaughter or indiscriminate firepower. (That doesn't mean it's not bloody. More on that later.)

The setting is Beirut in the near future, but anyone playing it is going to be thinking Iraq. (Indeed, 40 Marines fresh from Iraq helped the game’s designers create accurate tactics and conditions.) The basic premise: Lebanon has descended into chaos, with several armed factions vying for control, including Syrian-backed militias and a radical Islamic group called Atash, which is backed by Iranian special forces. NATO troops, including U.S. Marines, have been sent to restore peace.

You are the leader of the Marine Corps’ basic fighting unit: the four-man fire team. Together, you are a small, maneuverable unit with an impressive amount of firepower.

But you must deploy it properly.

That’s what makes First to Fight different from other popular first-person shooters. Repeatedly, you are told to attempt to capture, not kill, various faction leaders. And the game actually gives you the ability to command your assailants to drop their weapons and surrender. (Try that in Halo.)

If you run around shooting indiscriminately and pay no heed to the rest of your fire team, you’re in for a frustrating experience. For example, if you are careless and kill a civilian, you're sent back to square one.

This forces you to think before you shoot. Each member of your team also has a “health” meter that measures not just physical well-being but also “morale and discipline.” If you’re a hotshot who ignores the needs of your fellow Marines, their “health” wanes to the point that your mission can be scrubbed.

Reinforcing the need for teamwork, one of the many tutorials throughout the game describes storming a room this way: “If you try to enter a room by yourself you’ll earn a fast ticket to the pearly gates.”

Just for grins, I tried it—several times. Hello pearly gates. When I deployed the fire team correctly, though, we successfully took the room.

Gunships, Mortars and Blood
It's a tribute to the game's realism and dedication to detail that it brought back so many memories of the shared hardships and camaraderie I experienced as a Marine grunt. The new tactics—new to me, at least—were a real eye-opener, too. I probably wouldn’t have stepped around that corner had we used today’s line of attack.

And for gamers who aren't veterans, First to Fight provides insight into how today’s wars are really fought, which if nothing else creates something of a virtual antidote to the kill-anything-that-moves ethos ruling so many other games. But make no mistake. This is a war game, and even when played by the rules, you are responsible for a lot of killing.

Explosions onscreen propel bodies through the air. Hits are registered with a small spray of blood. And you still must line up your gun sight on other human beings.

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









Record Label


Xbox, PC


2K Games


On Video

Year Published



Tom Neven Kevin Simpson

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!