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

Last week I had two very different games vying for my attention: The Olympic ones on TV and Pokémon Conquest on my Nintendo DS.

Now, you might think it odd that I would lump those two competitions together. Then again, you could say Pokémon's animated characters have always been the Olympic competitors of the video gaming world. For over a decade now, these creative creatures have popped up over and over again to match their unique skill sets in winner-take-all contests, the rewards for which are shiny prizes to collect. And, come to think of it, both have their detractors and controversy too. The Olympics for doping allegations and letting professionals compete; Pokémon for pushing kids into a potentially all-consuming spiritualized world full of mysticism.

OK, OK, maybe track-and-field frenzy has incited me to take one corollary leap too many. But there's no denying the long-lived popularity of the Pokémon series. Year after year, new titles keep hitting the shelves with just enough tweaks to keep the series fresh.

Conquest's tweak? It blends the collect-'em-all monster brawler side of this cartoony title with elements of a history-based strategy game. It's an unexpected mash-up that actually works quite well.

Land of the Setting Poké
Instead of the fantasy world of trainers and their fanciful beasts that we've seen before, the action this time takes place in a version of the Sengoku period of feudal Japan. On an island nation called Ransei, gamers play as a male or female warrior who's been newly appointed as the warlord of one of the country's 17 kingdoms. And we soon learn of a fearsome conqueror from the north named Nobunaga who has nothing short of utter domination in mind.

It's said that if one warlord can conquer all the kingdoms, he'll draw forth the legendary Pokémon—a powerful creature that created everything in some ancient time. Of course, a man with that kind of power at his command could unify or destroy the land, depending on his nature. And it's pretty clear what kind of nature Nobunaga has. So it's up to a true hero to gather his troops, win all the kingdoms first and save Ransei.

The troops in this case are also known as Pokémon—animal-like critters which telepathically link with their human handlers. Gamers can connect with fire-breathing Charmanders or hard-fisted Machops out in the wild or recruit warriors who have already matched up with any of the 200 or so different Pokémon creatures available in this game.

This is where the RPG strategy side of things really kicks into gear. Turn by turn, gamers must manage the workings of their kingdom (or kingdoms) by first finding, developing and/or training up the cute monsters on their team. Then you take a hand-picked group of six and head off to challenge another kingdom's Poké-forces.

Pokémon, Meet Strategy
Successfully defeating the opposing combatants requires you to take into account each kingdom's elemental enemies and to counter those particular foes accordingly. For instance, challenging a kingdom of predominantly water-based Pokémon won't be an easy task if your team is composed of rock and fire troops. On the other hand, if your fire creature is up against a grass monster, well, game on.

Each kingdom also has unique battle arenas that will need to be taken into account. Environments rife with fire pits, scattered springboards or broad sheets of slippery ice will all impact how well your crew can perform. Thus, traditional Pokémon vs. Pokémon competitions morph into a grid-like board game of strategic planning and forward-thinking. All of that makes savvy team building a crucially important element.

There's plenty of stop-and-go gameplay packed into this handheld title as well. The main collect-and-conquer quest requires about 20 hours, after which you unlock 30 more side quests.

Gold or Tin?
In true Olympic fashion, the storyline delivers gold medal-worthy messages about getting along, being honorable and striving for your best. And as far as the combat content goes, this E-rated title keeps potentially messy bits to a minimum.

The creature battles are full of colorful attacks that range from water-squirting splashes to lightning bolt blasts to sharp-clawed slashes. But these miniature melees are bloodless, and when a Pokémon takes enough damage to fall, he doesn't die. Instead, he simply faints and retires to rest up for another day's battle.

The worst of it is one kingdom that features a vaguely vampire-looking warlord and his poison-pooled land of dark, ghost-like bats and wisps ... which brings up the only real concern here: spirituality. The Pokémon franchise has long been questioned by Christians concerned about its Eastern-influenced, Dungeons & Dragons-lite affection for fanciful forces that fly beyond where mere mortals can go. It's all presented with characteristically cartoony flair, of course. Which means families will have to decide whether that makes it more palatable ... or more tricky.

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






June 18, 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!