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

When you first start the journey, there's no indication of where to go or why.

ThatGameCompany's new PlayStation3 game Journey is a modest $15 title that quickly became the PlayStation Network's fastest-selling, exclusively downloadable game ever.

Everywhere you look is golden sand, kissed by softly defused sunlight and a swirling breeze. It's only when you spot a nearby hilltop flag snapping in the wind and push your robe-clad, stick-figure avatar in that direction—your feet crunching across the sand with each slip-sliding step—that you get any indication of where you should go.

The game's surprising sales numbers beat out downloadable versions of everything from Mass Effect and Call of Duty to Mortal Kombat and Star Wars.

Cresting a slight hill, you're greeted with the sight of a vast, majestic span of sparkling sand, crumbling ruins, altar-like stone markers and, far off, a glowing mountaintop that surely must be the objective for a wayfarer like yourself.

Reviewers have pointed out that, almost in spite of the game's popularity, there isn't a crazed villain or bullet-blazing AK-47 anywhere to be found in Journey.

And so you wrap your scarf around your neck, set your face toward the mountain and begin your own personal journey.

So what is it that's made this uniquely crafted and rather short game—clocking in at around 3 to 4 hours—so popular?

Escape to Which Mountain?
The answer seems to be in Journey's alchemy of simple gameplay, nebulous mystique and creatively surreal digital beauty. Gamers find themselves knee-deep in desert dunes, surrounded by soothing musical tones and the oddly calming sound of blowing sand. It's almost like moving a character around in a piece of interactive art. But at the same time, it's an appealing gaming experience that points out how far button-punching and controller-waving has come since Pong and Donkey Kong.

The controls are intuitive. Tipping the PS3 Sixaxis tilt controller (or pushing the analog buttons) turns the camera and affords panoramic views of every crag and crumbling structure. The left thumbstick gets things moving, and two buttons dictate the jumping and interacting duties. Trekking up massive dunes and sliding down the other side, you can almost feel the sun-warmed grains of sand sifting between your virtual toes.

As for your objective, it centers around a "magical" scarf that you wear. As you travel, you move through a variety of different areas containing glowing glyphs and floating cloth fragments that mysteriously swirl around you. These energized fabric bits add to your luminous scarf, which lets you jump and soar in the air for longer stretches as it grows. Those bits of cloth can also be strung together for other purposes, such as creating bridges that help you travel from the top of one broken ruin to another on your way to the mountain.

Magical Mystery Game
If Journey is starting to sound like a peculiar, serenely mystical gaming experience, well, it is. There's a constant sense of being in the midst of an otherworldy quest. The challenge of overcoming obstacles and reaching the distant mountaintop destination soon begins to feel like a metaphor for our real-world sojourn as we make our way through life, overcoming obstacles while seeking truth and answers.

Along the way, you have brief, dream-like encounters with a towering figure who seems to be ever watchful of your progress. Is he the game's rendition of God? Perhaps. But Journey never spells that out explicitly. Instead, this digital odyssey is built on a sense of ethereal wonder more than concrete spiritual teaching or definition.

When playing online, you may occasionally encounter another questing soul, a random connection with an unknown player who happens to be at the same point as you in their game. Again, much as it happens in real life, two humans crossing paths at school, at work, at the gas station.

There's no need to worry about making the proper introductions or the possibility of trash-talking, come to think of it. You can only communicate through a musical tone. If you work together with this stranger, your scarves stay powered up and further your collective progress. But if you choose to head off on your own and go your separate ways, you'll never see each other again. It's a unique interaction, one that reinforces the idea that making relational choices always triggers consequences, of one kind or another.

It's those kinds of options and experiences that make Journey an immersive and sometimes even poignant game. It's simple, imaginative, beautiful and calming. After playing all the way through, I went online to get a sense of other players' reactions. I found that Journey has impacted many—including hard-core gamers—in very personal ways, some even being moved to tears. Unique indeed.

No words. No painful deaths. No shocking visuals. No swearing. No mess.

Just a serene E-rated trek toward a virtual mountaintop experience.

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


PlayStation 3




March 13, 2012

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

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!