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

In a land far, far away, where the legends of rock 'n' roll are born and not made, I still can't shred. Not after more than two decades of playing the guitar. Not after spending countless nights burning the midnight oil until my fingers bled. Not after getting signed to a recording label. Not after thriving in the studio. Not even after playing in front of thousands of screaming fans out on the road.

No, I've been to this distant haven called Rock and found the truth—namely, that the real guitar gods are only those who can get through the "Expert" level of virtual shred-fest Guitar Hero II.

Finger Dancing on the Fretboard
If you're unfamiliar with the first Guitar Hero video game that came out in 2005, here's a quick primer. Following the success of such rhythm games as Dance Dance Revolution, Bust a Groove and beatmania, gamemaker Harmonix Music decided to translate all those colorful follow-along icons to the world of smokin' riffs, licks and chops. Though the idea had been executed before, the original Guitar Hero elevated the playing field while quickly becoming a critics' favorite.

The premise is simple—think karaoke on a guitar. As a song is played, notes come in the form of color-coded blips that travel down a giant onscreen fretboard. When a note or chord reaches the bottom of the screen, you hit the corresponding colored buttons on your (wickedly awesome-looking) guitar-shaped game controller. Sounds easy enough. And it is ... at first. Harmonix wisely made the game accessible to even the most non-rockin', musically challenged wannabes out there. The result is that, à la Dance Dance Revolution, the Guitar Hero titles are still a blast to play with a big group, whether you're hording the spotlight or just watching someone else play the comic relief/star. (The co-op and face-off modes even let you pick along with or compete against another guitarist.)

Ah, but then comes the separation between the hacks and the heroes. The "Easy" mode is just that, as players only use three of the five buttons on their mini-Gibson SG controllers. "Medium" introduces an extra button. "Hard" throws in all five and some chords. The real challenge, however, is conquering the advanced techniques of hammer-ons and pull-offs. Any classic rock lover knows that no guitar solo is complete without these, and it's the same here if you want to get through such rock standards as The Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica," Anthrax's "Madhouse" or the ridiculous intro of Heart's "Crazy on You."

Do that, and you're well on your way to riffing through a "Free Bird" encore at the legendary Stonehenge while a giant spaceship zooms in, evaporates the lights display and then beams you up. Dude ... rock on!

Stairway to Heaven, Highway to Hell
That tongue-in-cheek, Spinal Tap-ish take on rock 'n' roll is pervasive throughout Guitar Hero II. The over-the-top characters you can play as in career mode bear such stage monikers as Axel Steel, Johnny Napalm, Pandora and my personal favorite, Lars Ümlaüt. Obviously, those behind the game had a lot of fun while creating it. It also seems that, for the most part, they tried to keep that fun relatively clean for the teen-and-older crowd.

Unfortunately, with the rock setting comes some bad rock tendencies. Although lyrics of the more than 60 total songs have been cleaned up a bit (profanities have been excised), they still range from the suicidally dark (Lamb of God's "Laid to Rest") to the outright satanic (Sevenfold's "Beast and the Harlot") to the risqué (Warrant's "Cherry Pie"). Expect to see a few pentagrams, 666s, grim reapers and the like. Early gigs include beer bottles thrown onto the stage. A practice room features a poster of a woman showing cleavage. Loading screens incorporate a handful of suggestive sayings ("Throw your undies on the stage. No wait, you're underage," which is actually a lyric from one of the game's indie bands). And at the end of tutorials, your guide launches into reminiscing about adventures on the road and inexplicably uses a (bleeped) f-word.

Not that Guitar Hero II takes a disastrous stage dive from its opening power chord. While entertaining it also educates, fostering a sense of rhythm, and developing the ears and hand-eye coordination, as Primus' Les Claypool pointed out in an interview with gamespy.com. Though the renowned bass player says he is adamant about restricting his own kids' game time, he's also quick to praise this title's positive elements: "It's getting kids into instrumentation again, as opposed to pushing buttons on an 808 or scratching a turntable. And I've sort of seen this resurgence among friends of mine who have teenage kids. The movie School of Rock has been a huge thing to get kids into instrumentation again, and now Guitar Hero, so I'm all for it."

That's a hefty endorsement from a bona fide rock star. I'm nowhere close to Claypool status, as Guitar Hero II unmercifully reminds me again and again. But that's not why I can't quite echo his glowing refrain. Despite some flashy, sweet-sounding, crowd-pleasing—instructive—riffs, this encore still hits a few sour notes.

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 2, Xbox 360




On Video

Year Published



Marcus Yoars

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!