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

I suspect that there are two kinds of people who play Nintendo's Mario-themed games. First, there are the hard-core fanboys. These are the people who have diligently played through the scores of Mario games Nintendo has released since Donkey Kong got the party started in 1981. Not only are they masters of the strategic power-up and the perfectly timed jump, but they can dispense obscure bits of digital lore about Nintendo's famously mustachioed, overall-wearing plumber-adventurer.

Second, there are players who want nothing more than a bit of innocent digital distraction. Kids. Families. Grown-ups who need a mindless break and can't put their hands on a Pac-Man game at the moment. They're just looking to have some fun clearing obstacles and chasing a princess who always seems to get hauled away by some nemesis, no matter how diligent poor Mario's pursuit is.

Put me squarely in the latter category, though I have to admit it's been a couple of decades since my last go at the aforementioned jumping and power-upping. Believe it or not, the last Mario game I played for any length of time was Donkey Kong Junior on my ColecoVision in 1983.

ColecoVision went the way of the dinosaur, of course. But the void it left was quickly filled with the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. And at the heart of that Nintendo's allure was … Mario. Some 200 Mario titles have sold 210 million units worldwide since those golden days of my youth. And Nintendo is still figuring out clever new ways to put players in control of the most famous video game character of all time.

Complex Simplicity
Mario's latest platforming adventure on the Wii console more or less picks up where its predecessor, 2007's Super Mario Galaxy, left off. And as is often the case with this franchise, the proceedings here are as simple as they are complex.

All the main characters Mario aficionados have come to love over the years are back (along with new ones, too). The plumber's arch nemesis, Bowser, has once again kidnapped Princess Peach and is bent on taking over the galaxy. To accomplish that task, Bowser—who looks like a cross between a mad dog, a turtle and something out of a Godzilla movie—has been munching on power stars and morphing into supermonster proportions.

And so Mario must once again save the day. It's that simple.

And yet it's not. Because the stewards of the Mario franchise have once again dreamed up cagey new ways to empower their hero as he chases Bowser across the universe in this 3-D (and occasionally 2-D) adventure.

One of Mario's friends this time around is a little star-like character named Baby Luma who rides under his hat and gives him the power to attract other stars—whose energy Mario needs to keep chasing Bowser. Two other necessities for interstellar pursuit: a cool ride and equally cool powers. That ride comes courtesy of the Starship Mario, a ship shaped like, no surprise here, Mario's head. As for those special power-ups, at certain points the persevering plumber can morph into one of seven differently enabled versions of himself: Cloud Mario, Rock Mario, Fire Mario, Bee Mario, Rainbow Mario, Boo Mario and Spring Mario.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg—or more accurately, the tail of the comet—when it comes to the multitudinous ways the game varies the basic tasks of running, jumping and defending Mario from the mildly mean foes he meets along the way.

Smooching Smeeches
Speaking of mildly mean foes, allow me to introduce you to a couple: Beyond the cartoon violence in games like this, you have to reckon with Boo ghosts, who chase you occasionally. One of the bosses you battle is called a bouldergeist, obviously a derivative of poltergeist. And a few levels have a haunted house feel to them.

Another enemy you may run into is called a smeech. And it's their odd method of attack that makes them worth mentioning here: The pig-like creatures attack by sucking the lips of Mario's dinosaur steed, Yoshi—an attack that may have parents of younger players furrowing their brows a bit.

Mario's main manner of disposing of the "bad guys" involves either jumping on them or spinning rapidly in a circle, so when he knocks them into nonexistence, the impact carries about as much weight as a stack of collapsing Tetris cubes. That means it's just as easy for novices to plunge into the wireless Wii action as it is for experts to test their mettle against an ever-increasing variety of skill challenges. The result is, remarkably, a game that offers something for everyone—a rarity these days even for E-rated games.

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






May 23, 2010

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz Dave Dillard

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!