Computer Entertainment Rating Organization

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

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.[1]

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".

Contents descriptor Examples Corresponding ratings
Love Tokimeki Memorial series, Memories Off series, Angelique series, Starry Sky series, Uta no Prince-sama series, LovePlus, Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life - CS Edition, Little Busters!: Converted Edition, Amagami, Tears to Tiara: Kakan no Daichi, Shining Hearts, Final Fantasy XIII, Mass Effect 2, The Sims 3 B, C, D
Sexual content The Idolmaster series, Arcana Heart series, Dead or Alive series, Dream Club, Gal*Gun, Air, Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, To Heart 2, Doki Doki Majo Shinpan!, Duel Love, Soulcalibur IV, Record of Agarest War, Dance Evolution, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel B, C, D
Violence The King of Fighters series, Metal Slug series, Dynasty Warriors series, Metal Gear series, Castlevania series, Resident Evil series, Monster Hunter series, Gears of War series, Halo series, Call of Duty series, God of War series, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw series, Fate/unlimited codes, Steins;Gate, Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Majo to Suiri no Rondo, Bayonetta, The 3rd Birthday B, C, D, Z
Horror LifeSigns: Surgical Unit, Fatal Frame, xxxHolic, Theresia, Ju-on: The Grudge, Calling, Alan Wake B, C
Gambling Yakuza series, Jake Hunter series, 81diver, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Bully, Way of the Samurai 4 C, D
Crime Grand Theft Auto series, Assassin's Creed series, Burnout series, Cross Channel, Chaos;Head Noah, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Radiant Historia, No More Heroes, Test Drive Unlimited, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire, Alice: Madness Returns B, C, D, Z
Use of alcohol or tobacco (of minor) Machi: Unmei no Kousaten, Happiness! De:Luxe, Nanatsuiro Drops Pure!!, Days of Memories 2, Taishō Yakyū Musume: Otome Tachi no Seishun Nikki, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker C, D
Use of drugs Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance, Imabikisō, 428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de, Clannad, Togainu no Chi: True Blood, Trauma Team, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP version), Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin (PSP version) B, C
Language or other Kanon, School Days L×H, Ōkami Kakushi, Baroque, Valkyria Chronicles, Tales of Vesperia, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Resonance of Fate, Siren: Blood Curse, Heavy Rain, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days B, C, D

Previous ratings

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.

Other 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".[2] 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

See also


External links

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