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

Mankind has really messed things up this time. Was it war, global warming, overcrowding or some debilitating disease? Clues suggest it was some combination of all of those things.

But the past is the past! Now it's time to smarten up, single out those souls who are truly the best of the best and, well, escape a failed civilization in search of new planetary living arrangements. It's time for Sid Meier's latest adventure, Civilization: Beyond Earth.

A Study in Civs: Yesterday and Tomorrow
Over the last two decades of the Civilization game series there have been five major editions, along with dozens of expansion packs and periphery versions. But, frankly, even the benchmark sequels were essentially graphical upgrades or conceptual fine-tunings of the original 1991 game. You took your settlers out into the wilderness to explore, exterminate, expand, exploit and build a flat-out excellent civ that could lead mankind toward tomorrow.

Now it finally is tomorrow. Beyond Earth is, at its core, the same concept with a new skin, but it really does feel like an entirely new game. In the previous versions, one of the winning scenarios was to advance your people's scientific knowledge to the point at which they could launch a space mission to Alpha Centauri. So, in a way, this game is the continuation of that dream.

Yep, you're still planting your flag (for, say, the American Reclamation Corp. or Pan-Asian Cooperative). And you're still trying to flourish through research, population growth, city building and trade with others. But everything's been given a huge sci-fi twist and reframed as interstellar colonization. The world around you is foreign and pocked with gigantic craterous canyons and patches of foul noxious gas. And the old standard player approaches don't always apply.

ETs as Big as Your Block
There are no early-age barbarians to contend with here, for instance. Instead, there are (relatively) aggressive indigenous alien species—ranging from groups of roachmen-looking creatures to giant Dune-like worms to seagoing Kraken as large as small cities. But do you blast them, try to domesticate them or attempt to communicate with them? Your approach can make a galaxy of difference.

Quests are a big part of this new version, too. Some lead you in a progressive, narrative storyline; some are tutorials; and some can really help you move your people forward. The old game's historical context is totally displaced, of course. The 500 years you play through, now, are in a distant future. And, frankly, that can make things a little confusing.

The old game had you trekking through the ages researching beneficial and linear improvements such as "Agriculture," "Mining," "Steam Power" and "Gun Powder." That makes total sense to all us earthlings, knowing our own history like we do. But a nondirectional web of tech improvements like "Alien Sciences," "Bionics" and "Transcendental Math" gives very few clues as to how well we're doing, whether we're progressing or regressing. It all sounds sci-fi cool, but between launching solar satellites and crafting mind-reading machines, it can make the progress to victory difficult without a lot of extra reading in the game's internal Civilopedia.

An Out-of-This-World Balancing Act
All of the civs, including your own, will reach for planetary domination through a number of standard human means. And that means some might shoot for the old-school "big stick" approach. And that will let loose missiles, tanks, satellite lasers and all manner of future-tech soldiers. (There's no blood or gore as the bird's-eye view lets us see characters tumble over and disappear.)

There are other ways to be aggressive, too. Internal subterfuge is always present, and gamers can use spies to undermine a government, plant dirty bombs in a civ's capital, and steal everything from secrets and money to, well, whole cities if the right combination of situations arise.

There are three different human "Affinities" in this game. There's one (Purity) that sticks by old-Earth priorities, one that grabs for whatever hybrid tech it needs to succeed (Supremacy), and a third (Harmony) that focuses on connecting with the new world and creating a new-agey type of undescribed "religion."

Victories, then, can range from motivating the people to be united in "planetary nirvana," all the way to sending a large number of militarily advanced "peacekeeping" troops back to Earth to conquer (emancipate) its populace.

By the time you reach the point at which you proudly wave your colorful flag or meekly hold up the white rag of defeat, though, you'll definitely see the old Civilization pedigree come shining through. The world-building choices are multitude, the strategy challenges are stellar and the game's impact crater pitfalls are ... quite navigable, especially when compared to so many other video game spacefaring journeys.

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




2K Games


October 24, 2014

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!