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

Spore, which came out in 2008, is a sim/strategy game that introduced a unique creature-evolution tool to go along with some simple but creative gameplay. Its construction, along with its designer's self-described status as an "agnostic atheist," prompted me to speculate that " some will see [it] as a creative and involving apologetic for Darwinian evolution" while " others may decide its ludicrous 'process' and wacky creatures diminish the idea that brainless blobs can somehow come up with a game-plan for world domination." One thing was more clear: The game lived up to its E10+ rating.

Darkspore keeps the pseudo-evolution theme and pushes the rating to a T by adding fierce firefights between glowing-eyed critters with hacking Wolverine-like claws (and many other such meanies and beasties). Instead of building new life-forms from genetic bits falling to Earth in a meteor, Darkspore picks up its story after widespread DNA experiments have gone terribly wrong and infected the universe with a mutating virus.

Playing as the last of a group of brilliant scientists, gamers wake from suspended animation and find themselves facing a colossal challenge: They must work with a handful of healthy heroic creatures under their control and somehow wipe everything clean of the nightmarish scourge called the Darkspore. How do you wipe everything clean? Well, by building critters and sending them out to fight.

Biology Meets Technology
Darkspore demands that you sign on to an Internet connection for those battles. In fact, all play, whether single player or cooperative, is online. There, up to four co-op buddies pursue two central courses of action. They zip from planet to planet—crawling through dungeon-like mazes, slashing and bashing scores of RPG enemies, and collecting loot as they go. Then, as they level up, they gain access to 100 creature variations, edit and equip them with the spoils of battle, and group them into strategic squads of three.

The hero creatures themselves are a mix of biology and technology that end up looking like everything from laser-eyed robots to creepy insects to demons. The monsters they fight are … worse. You can use long-ranged blasters to riddle foes with everything from bullets to fireballs, or up-close ravagers to hack away with elemental claws or plasma-boosted fists. You can trot out your transporting creature who jumps in on the enemy for a surprise attack, or a multi-legged robot assisted by a circling pod of satellite bots.

The early rounds are simply a series of mouse clicks and number button attack choices. But as your creature catalogue and list of specific skills grows, so does your challenge to equip your squads properly and match them up so that their tag team prowess is balanced enough to face any onslaught.

War Meets Spore
The game's bird's-eye view of those onslaughts keeps gory outcomes at a distance. But as creatures are killed and disappear, crimson or purple pools of goop splash the landscape. The short missions (clocking in at around 15 to 20 minutes each) might make things feel pretty light and fluffy at first, but there are a good 80 of them to crash your way through, and the later stages involve wave after wave of ghostly foes, vine-tangling terribles and laser-blasting baddies. So the slashing conflict seems like it goes on and on and on.

Things have indeed darkened in the Spore universe. And the change is dramatic. But it's not so radical that we would have to label it a whole new species.

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!