- Computer Entertainment Rating Organization
Computer Entertainment Rating Organization Type Non-profit Industry Organization and rating system Founded July 2002 Headquarters Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan Area served Japan Website http://www.cero.gr.jp/
The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (特定非営利活動法人コンピュータエンターテインメントレーティング機構 Tokutei Hieiri Katsudō Hōjin Konpyūta Entāteinmento Rētingu Kikō ) (CERO) is a Japanese entertainment rating organization based in Tokyo. rating video game content in console games with levels of rating that informs the customer of the nature of the product and for what age group it is suitable. It was established on July 2002 as a branch of Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association, and became an officially recognized non-profit organization on 2003. Personal computer games (including dating sims, dōjin soft, eroge, and visual novels) are rated by a different organization, the Ethics Organization of Computer Software (EOCS).
On March 1, 2006, CERO implemented the latest revision of its ratings system. The symbols that CERO uses are stylized depictions of letters, meant to convey at a glance, a game's suitability for minors:
- A (all ages).
- B (ages 12 and up).
- C (ages 15 and up).
- D (ages 17 and up).
- Z (ages 18 and up only). The content is extreme in the CERO impact levels and therefore off-limits to persons under 18.
Cultural differences between ratings are very common, and games can receive different ratings in different countries. For example, the games God Hand, Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and Samurai Shodown: Sen were all rated B by the CERO, which would technically give them T (13+) ratings in North America. However, they were all rated M (17+ - CERO D rating) by the ESRB, a difference of two grades. A more prominent example is Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, which was rated A (all ages) by CERO but M (17+) by the ESRB, a difference of three grades.
Some ratings, however, are consistent, such as No More Heroes which is rated M by the ESRB, D by the CERO and 16 by the PEGI. Also, some games may be partially censored to eliminate some of the more mature themes in the games' content, such as the aforementioned No More Heroes.
Ratings are often printed on the packaging of video games. The Z classification is the only rating which is regulated by law.
Contents descriptor icons
In April 2004, CERO defined the following "content descriptor icons". These icons are displayed on the back of all packages except on those rated "A".
The ratings for video games in Japan prior to March 2006 are:
- All ages replaced by A
- 12 and older replaced by B
- 15 and older replaced by C
- 18 and older replaced by D and Z
The primary difference between the two rating systems was the inclusion of the "17 and older" rating, due to the large gap between the "15 and up" and "18 and up" ratings.
- Education & Database (教育・データベース) equivalent to ESRB's eC ratings.
- Rating scheduling (審査予定) equivalent to ESRB's RP ratings.
- CERO regulation conformity (CERO規定適合) is displayed in demo version.
According to Kazuya Watanabe, CERO's senior director, the group of assessors is composed of three "regular [Japanese] people, unaffiliated with the game industry". They are trained by rating past games. The ratings process is determined by 30 different types of content ranging from sexual content to violence. In addition six types of content are not allowed. Each content is rated using the A to Z scale that the labels use. After the group evaluates the game, the results are sent to CERO's main office where the final rating attempts to use the majority of the evaluators' ratings.
Scandals and Controversy
One month after the initial release of Atelier Meruru: The Alchemist of Arland 3, shipments of it were halted due to it having been mis-rated. It was re-released a few days later with a B rating from CERO. Its A (All Ages) rating was revoked and it was given a B (Ages 12+) rating instead, due to some heavily sexual scenes featured in-game. One of these features several characters in a hot spring with their genitalia barely covered (ie. hidden by towels and heavy steam effects). There are also some cleavage shots and see-through articles of clothing throughout the game. The in-game camera can be manuevered to view female characters' undergarments. The game was originally rating for all ages due to Gust Corporation allegedly not providing them with complete content of the game to review.
- ACB, the Australian media rating system.
- ESRB, the United States and Canadian computer and video game rating system
- ELSPA, the former British computer and video game rating system, replaced by the PEGI system.
- PEGI, the European computer and video game rating system
- USK, the German computer and video game rating system
- OFLC, the New Zealand media rating system
- GRB, the South Korean computer and video game rating system.
- Eirin, the Japanese film rating system.
- ^ Gamasutra. . Retrieved June 4, 2006.
- ^ a b Gifford, Kevin (March 10, 2010). "All about Japan's Anti-Violence Game Rating System". 1-UP. http://www.1up.com/news/japan-anti-violence-game-rating-system. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- ^ "Atelier Meruru game held back in Japan due to rating". Animenewsnetwork.com. 2011-10-24. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-07-28/atelier-meruru-game-held-back-in-japan-due-to-rating. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- ^ "Atelier Meruru PS3 RPG age rating changed to 12". Animenewsnetwork.com. 2011-10-24. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-07-29/atelier-meruru-ps3-rpg-age-rating-changed-to-12+. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
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