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

After releasing eight Tony Hawk games, the creative team over at Activision has decided to ollie up to tweens who probably haven't played the skateboarding series before. (An ollie is when a skateboarder pops his board up into the air by kicking down on its tail.) Since Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam doesn't try any of the hard tricks found in previous games, it becomes a kind of Hawk-lite experiment. It's an E10+ game that eases back on the language, sexuality and rebel attitude of the past T-rated skating fare and focuses on fast, downhill racing.

One- or two-player gameplay still includes performing midair skateboard grabs and flips, but the jumping and grinding trick system is now much easier to pick up. (Grinding means sliding the board along an edge such as a curb, bench or rail.) Mashing out a few button combos and steering clear of obstacles and other skaters is pretty much all you need to worry about. You can kick another player off his board during the race, but that kind of foul play really isn't a huge part of the action.

Meet Jynx, Crash and Gunnar
The goal of the game is simple: You work out your personal menu of tricks and high-flying jumps, master the tracks, find the shortcuts, and try to get to the bottom of each course first. To help you get there faster, you're given a boost meter (called a zone bone) that fills up with each grind, flip or jump you perform, and delivers a turbo blast of speed when you need it.

It's that overall visceral sense of frenzied speed that keeps the game's fun-factor high. As you gain wins and points, you unlock new characters, fresh tracks (from the swooping hills of San Francisco to the precipice drops of Machu Picchu) and special items that supercharge your boarding skills.

Unlike past games, there's no real storyline, but the characters of Downhill Jam add some, well, character to the races. You get to choose which broadly animated teen will represent you on the track. Your choices range from such typical skater types as Crash (a try-anything daredevil who crows about his past broken bones) to the gothic, darkly-clad Jynx (a sky-is-falling-type girl) to Norwegian Gunnar (a Schwarzenegger-style muscleman). They each have unique areas of skill and skateboarding specialty (jumps, tricks, speed) and colorful personalities.

The races begin with each skateboarder telling us a little bit about themselves, their experience or their boarding philosophy. For instance, Tiffany, an aspiring runway model, tells us, "I'm just so tired of people assuming that just because I look and dress and smell a certain way, that I have no business being a skateboarder." She skates with that same kind of delicate flair.

Nice Nosegrab!
Some of the characters can be a little too colorful, of course. Jynx says of the braggart Crash, for instance, "The guy only pretends to like pain because he sucks at skating so bad." She and other girl racers also wear midriff-baring outfits and some short skirts that would (should) raise an animated eyebrow or two.

Violence shows up in the form of crashes and tumbles, but the blood and resulting profanity of other Tony Hawk titles has been left out. Heavy music from such problematic groups as White Zombie and Motorhead screams along with your races, but it steers clear of the foul language, too, with alternate lyrics inserted in some cases. (The options screen allows you to create your own playlist from among the 40 tunes included or turn the music off altogether.)

When all the nosegrabs and 360s are done (and even novices no longer need their Skater-to-English dictionaries), some fans of the original attitude-laden, in-your-face series will likely complain that Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam is too soft and simple for their tastes. I'm not one of them. This soft and simple game lets young wannabe virtual skateboarders get stoked (that means excited) about jumping up on their first deck (umm, skateboard) without anybody getting slammed (yep, that equals hurt) by content that's hyper-hinky, er, haggard ... uh, bad.

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


Wii, PlayStation 2, DS




On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose Stephen Strong

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!