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Japan Revamps Game Rating System

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the z-should-stand-for-good-things dept.

29

Next Generation reports on a controversial new game rating system recently rolled out in Japan. From the article: "The Z mark, which designates the most violent games, was the blocking issue for months while the new rating was in preparation. Game makers were hesitant to submit their new titles to the CESA rating check because they did not want to be the first to get this Z mark. Many titles were held back, including EA's The Godfather. Some shops have even declared they don't want to have Z rated titles on their shelves. On May 25, the CESA made its own list of Z rated titles already released on the market."

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29 comments

A note on the department... (1)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15445949)

Z does stand for good things. Violence is a good thing, especially when it's something certain gamers look for. Like, say, myself.

You know y'all loved the Postal series. [gopostal.com] At least your id did. There's no denying it.

Re:A note on the department... (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446268)


Sorry, my id couldn't get past the horrible controls and shitty graphics of the Postal games.

Re:A note on the department... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446603)

Sorry, my id couldn't get past the horrible controls and shitty graphics of the Postal games.

My id was confused, but my conscious mind figured out how to remap controls.

Re:A note on the department... (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#15454468)


Sorry, but controlling a 2D guy on an isometric map, and aiming with your mouse... sucked.

The game would have been utterly forgotten had it not got the press it did.

Re:A note on the department... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15454849)

A 2d guy on an isometric map? I was thinking of this game [gopostal.com], perhaps you were thinking of something else. I admit to never having played the original but the sequel uses the Unreal engine... the most powerful and flexible FPS engine at the time of its release.

What a shame... (2, Insightful)

dorbabil (969458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446077)

It's good, and all, that the rating system is being revamped, but it lumps together artistic games like Killer 7 with mindless shooting like the GTA series, and (according to TFA) does not include games with fantasy or historical violence. Killer 7 probably deserves the Z rating (it's awfully violent, even though the player never attacks another human being throughout the game.), but man... it'd be a shame if Capcom didn't release a game like that just because of a ratings system.

Re:What a shame... (1)

WizMaster (974384) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446158)

Yea, it seems like people are going to avoid Z rated games. IMO, this is pretty bad. The Z rating seems to lump many games together and since some stores may not carry Z (which makes no sense, just check for id) it may not allow an otherwise fine game to be exposed enough. What do I care? I'm over 18? Haha, tough luck kiddies.

Re:What a shame... (2, Funny)

Physician (861339) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446546)

Just to sum up. Artistic violence = good. Mindless violence = bad. Now we just need everyone to agree on what is artistic and what is mindless.

Re:What a shame... (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#15447078)

is this any different from the debate over artistic sex and "mindless" sex (pr0n)? It would be nice if they'd stop trying to make decisions for us over whats good and whats bad in such controversial subjects. Honestly I have never bought or decided not to buy a title merely because it was a certain rating. I only buy GOOD games and GOOD movies, regardless of content sexually, violently, or humorously.

We're sorry, 17 year old kid (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446078)

We have a smattering of 17 year old and up, but you have to wait 1 full year before you can get access to the 18 year old and up stuff.

tribal fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15446104)

The site gave me a tribal fusion pop-up which was blocked, but damn, nothing like linking to a malware distro.

Other ratings (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446110)

Some shops have even declared they don't want to have Z rated titles on their shelves

Yeah, god forbid such degenerate games share shelf space with the T rated tentacle rape and SQ (status quo) rated bukake [youtube.com].

We're talking big chains, not little otaku shops. (2, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446235)

That kind of stuff is only available in the basements of otaku-catering stores. I was not pleasantly suprised to find out that was what was in the basement of most anime / game stores in Akihabara when I visited there. Despite what you may have heard, porn gamers are not commonly available in Japan. You have to go looking for them.

The shops that are likely to not want Z rated titles are big name electronics stores like Yamada Denki, an equivalent of Best Buy which wouldn't have carried porn anyway.

Re:We're talking big chains, not little otaku shop (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446259)

The shops that are likely to not want Z rated titles are big name electronics stores like Yamada Denki, an equivalent of Best Buy which wouldn't have carried porn anyway.

You've never been to Fry's, I take it...

Re:We're talking big chains, not little otaku shop (2, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446262)

espite what you may have heard, porn gamers are not commonly available in Japan. You have to go looking for them.

I meant porn games are not commonly available. You don't want to go looking for porn gamers. *shudder*

Re:We're talking big chains, not little otaku shop (1)

InsaneLampshade (890845) | more than 7 years ago | (#15452175)

"I meant porn games are not commonly available. You don't want to go looking for porn gamers. *shudder*"

Hmm... i dunno... i wouldn't mind finding some female porn gamers.

Like the US system... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15446144)

Why do they mimic the (beyond retarded) US system? There's ONE FUCKING YEAR between 17 and 18, and that ONE FUCKING YEAR is enough to make a game pornographic?
I think I speak for most gamers when I say: What the fuck are they smoking?

Historical violence (2, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15446289)

TFA: It appears that realistic violence is the main motivation of the Z mark. So, some developers are wondering if violence is okay as long as it remains in a fantasy world or in a historic context.

Why the distinction of "historical" violence? As it is, it appears they can whip up an Old-West skin for GTA, relabel it "Grand Theft Horse: OK Corral" and get away with a softer rating for essentially the same game. Heck, they could even release "Vice City" as it is, if you consider the 1980s "history."

Re:Historical violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15450751)

Why the distinction of "historical" violence?

Because that way, you can get away with attacking the weak point of giant crabs for MASSIVE DAMAGE [youtube.com] by claiming historical accuracy.

P.S. By now every gamer in the English-speaking world should be able to fill in the following blanks without any hesitation whatsoever: R____________ R____!

From TFA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15446562)

Here are the first games that have been Z-rated in Japan:

Driver 3
Max Payne
Killer 7
GTA Double Pack
GTA Vice City
The Getaway
GTA III
Berserk
The Getaway Black Monday
Simple 2000 series One Chambara
Simple 2000 series One Champuru

Reactions to the rating make it seem like its the equivalent of the American "AO" rating:
A (black): for everybody
B (green): for 12 years and up
C (blue): for 15 years and up
D (green): for 17 years and up
Z (Red)" for 18 years and up
Which is very good news for American and European game developers (as long as they don't want to release in Japan). Oh, and for Nintendo, I think (I wonder if they are responsible for it, as they were in the US). Bad news for Capcom though:
The Z mark, which designates the most violent games, was the blocking issue for months while the new rating was in preparation. Game makers were hesitant to submit their new titles to the CESA rating check because they did not want to be the first to get this Z mark.

Many titles were held back, including EA's The Godfather. Some shops have even declared they don't want to have Z rated titles on their shelves. On May 25, the CESA made its own list of Z rated titles already released on the market. While many makers (mostly foreign companies) have decided not to go with publishing potentially Z-rated titles in Japan, Capcom has confirmed it will go with GTA San Andreas in Japan at the end of the year.

Re:From TFA (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15455319)

It's unlike AO because AO only covers porn (which I think has its own rating in Japan as well). But if enough games end up rated Z retailers will start carrying them.

Also that list sounds like Manhunt and God of War weren't released in Japan...

Clear-cut rating system = good for EVERYONE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15450896)

- Kids will be less likely get their hands on extremely violent stuff. That's good news in my book.

  - That's because adults can better help determine what is best for their kids. That's GREAT.

  - Publishers can choose (ah, choice) to release games that suit more violent tastes without having to worry about toning things down to pass through the approval process for a rating aimed at broader audiences.

  - Developers will potentially have more freedom bestowed upon them by publishers willing to risk highly restrictive ratings.

  - The industry as a whole, depending on their own abilities to enforce adherence to the ratings system, will be able to sidestep Jack Thompson-esque legal interference. (Not to say that the Japanese political climate is anything like American government, but suspend that notion for a bit.)

Imagine the MPAA ratings without things like NC-17. Sure, NC-17 is the death-knell for almost any movie that wants a broad audience, but it means that such movies can get released for those who seek them. Without such a rating, these same movies would have to be toned down to make an R rating. Do most moviemakers aim for R rather than NC-17? Of course they do. However, ratings systems only have restrictive effects on the market landscape because potential customers of the product in question (movies, games, etc.) have MORE information about the content of the film. And anyone who thinks an ignorant customer is better than an informed customer is trying to sell you something.

Finally, imagine that the game industry in America had been better able to enforce sales of restricted games to minors. But they weren't until Jack Thompson and Leland Yee started making waves, so now the government is starting to step in wherever they can, meaning my taxes could potentially be paying for keeping the game industry's collective nose clean. That's just more bullshit I'd rather not pay for myself.

Re:Clear-cut rating system = good for EVERYONE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15453200)

Nowadays, most filmakers will choose to release a film unrated than with an NC-17 rating.

Letter Based (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15458542)

I wish Ratings Systems were more like HBO's. There would be a letter for each "objectionable" thing. There wouldn't be a "really really bad" letter that blanket sweeps whatever is being rated. Some people don't care if there is a little sex in a movie, while some people don't like violence. Having multiple letters to describe what exactly the issue with the rated thing would be nice. Plus, parents might have to investigate a little more into what their children are up to, which isn't always such a bad thing.
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