Welcome to the SEGA CD page. One of my favorite pages! When this baby came out, I bought the original model day one for $250 (the box image below is my original box, you can still see the sticker on it). And thinking back, most of my friends that had a Genesis bought one also. And yes, while FMV was lame for the most part, I think we were all excited when we first saw grainy full-motion running on our game system! Heck I remember the Digital Pictures logo that most of the FMV opened up with was awesome every time I saw it! Some other fond memories… The audio of the crowd and music on EA’s Soccer and Hockey games, Dragon’s Lair & Space Ace!! I LOVED these in the arcade and SEGA brought it home for me! SEGA also brought the most massive RPGs we had seen up to that point! Anyone remember when you popped LUNAR in? Alex…. o-ALEX! How about CORE DESIGNS Soul Star, Thunder Strike & Battlecorp! Here’s some more HEART OF THE ALIEN, SILPHEED, SONIC CD, BATMAN RETURNS, SHINING FORCE and SPIDERMAN. Do I need to go on people??? This was/is an awesome system that every collector must own!
The Original SEGA CD
This is the original version of the SEGA CD. This baby was built for the original version of the Genesis, which was stacked on top of the CD. This ended up making a very cool looking stack of gaming power if you ask me. This model had a tray that would eject from the front of the unit to insert disks. I’ve been inside these guys and they are a complicated unit. All SEGA CD systems came with built-in memory for saving games, and also worked with a RAM Cartridge for more save space. This version is becoming a bit harder to find these days. And while you could use the second model of the Genesis with this unit, it looked horrible. Check out our HOW TO section for help on hooking this baby up correctly, especially if throw a SEGA 32X on top!
- Unit Lifetime: 1992-1996 (US)
- Units Sold Wordlwide: 6 million (worldwide)
- Resolution: 320 x 224
- Colors Available: 512
- Colors on Screen: 64
- Power Requirements: 9V 1200amps
- Sound: Added 10-channels to the Genesis specs
- Games Released US: 147
The front of the original SEGA CD has no buttons to press or ports to use. All control is handled through the SEGA Genesis and it’s controllers. The CD tray itself slides out for you to place a disk on. The SEGA CD logo is actually a door flap that pops down when the tray is ejected. To open the tray you press the RESET button on the SEGA Genesis. You can press the button again to close or just give the tray a little push and it will automatically close.
To the right of the tray are two lights. Ready and Access. The ready light will turn green when the system is turned on (and everything is functioning properly) and the access light will blink red when the system is reading a disk.
Located on the left side is an odd little sliding clip. This clip is to hold the Audio Mixing Cable in place when the system is attached to the original SEGA Genesis. It’s keeps the wire from interfering with the CD tray when opened.
The back of the SEGA CD has three ports.
SEGA CD RCA STEREO OUT: This runs stereo sound out of your SEGA CD using standard composite RCA Cables.
SEGA CD AUDIO LINE-IN: This port is used with the Audio Mixing Cable that will be plugged into the headphone-jack on the original SEGA Genesis Model 1 it is not used when connecting a Model 2 Genesis.
SEGA CD AC ADAPTOR: This is the SEGA CD power supply port for the SEGA MK-1602 AC unit.
The Second Version
I have also come across a Model #4102A. The ‘A’ unit was built in Japan and the ‘non-A’ unit in China. There are some differences on the CD Tray caddy, as far as how it’s held in the machine when the door is closed. On the outside they appear identical.
This SEGA CD was a drastic change to the original design, brought out with the remodel of the SEGA Genesis. Together the Genesis 2 and SEGA CD 2 made a nice looking side-by-side system. And while I prefer the look of the original, these two together are just as nice looking in their own way. The SEGA 32X also sits nicely on this set-up.
I’ve seen reports that this model of the CD has a bit faster load times than the original, they are nominal at best. It has the same internal memory capacity as the original. And in all my testing they both seem to play games about the same. I will say that this model seems to hold up better over time.
Again take a look at our HOW TO section for all the info on hooking these guys up in the numerous different configuration available.
The SEGA CD Model 2 had only one power red power light that activates when the system is turned on. There is no access light like the original SEGA CD. On the right side of the system is an Open button to open the clam-shell CD tray. It will slowly open and allow you to place the CD inside. You close it manually and it will lock shut.
The back of the SEGA CD Model 2 has the same ports as the original.
The 3-Button Controller
The SEGA CD doesn’t require any special controllers. You use the standard SEGA Genesis controllers.
The SEGA Genesis originally came with a 3-button controller. It has an 8-way directional d-pad, a Start button, and three buttons labeled A, B & C.
These controllers are fairly durable, but with original controllers being decades old now you find many that do not work. But when they are in good shape they are good quality controllers. They can be maintained, cleaned and repaired and I will go over some of that in the GameTrog Maintenance Section.
They feel beefy with a little weight and thick plastic and may feel a little big in smaller hands. The d-pad and buttons are responsive and it’s an all around solid controller. I have seen various cord lengths from plenty to short. There are also a few different internal changes over the years, but appeared the same cosmetically.
The 6-Button Controller
In 1993 SEGA made a 6-button controller for the SEGA Genesis/CD. This was partly due to fighting games like Street Fighter that required the extra inputs. To me this is a perfect analog controller. It’s slightly smaller and easier to handle than the 3-button controller while adding 3 more action buttons.
The new buttons are labeled X, Y & Z and smaller than the original A, B & C buttons. The are also rounded or convex while the original buttons retain the recess concave shape. This makes the very easy to navigate. The buttons are sturdy and responsive.
The d-pad is slightly smaller than the original 3-button controller and raised a little higher. It had a little more movement that feels nice.
Just like the 3-button they are sturdy and well made, but time waits for nothing and maintenance or repair may be necessary.
NOTE: There is a button located on the right shoulder. This is a MODE button for a few games (ones made before the controller was) that did not work with the 6-button controller. Holding this button down and then turning on the system and waiting for the game to load will make the controller function like an original 3-button controller.
More SEGA Genesis Accessories
SEGA CD Games
The SEGA CD added several new features to the standard cartridge based games for the Genesis. First and foremost was the storage capacity of the CDs themselves. They allowed much more content to be added than any cartridge could hold. The CD technology also allowed for CD quality music which was a major improvement. Many SEGA Genesis title were re-released in CD format to take advantage of these new features by adding animated cut-scenes, voice acting and extra levels.
One of the biggest new features was hardware sprite scaling. This feature was similar to the sprite scaling of the Super Nintendo but more robust. Basically a large detailed graphic image like a vehicle or spaceship could be drawn once but smoothly scaled down or up in size. Games like Batman Returns and Soulstar among others made great use of this.
One of the issues that the SEGA CD didn’t address was the color palette. The SEGA Genesis could display 64 colors on screen at a time and though it was considered increasing it during the development of the CD in the end it retained the same color abilities. This worked fine the Genesis, but when you started adding video to games or making complete Full-Motion games it made the image very grainy. They would address this with the release of the SEGA 32X later, but it was too late.
SEGA CD games were of course, CD based. These are regular CDs and not DVDs so they had about 700 meg of storage. This is a major increase over cartridge capacities and allowed for video and cd quality music.
The case for the SEGA CD is a big one. They are taller than SEGA Genesis boxes and a little wider. They are built from plastic and have a hinge on the top and bottom of the case that allows it to open like a book. The manual is also the cover of the game. Once opened you could remove the manual from the front of the case where it was held in with some small tabs. This can bit a bit of a pain with thick manuals and you can often see the damage to the manual on the top and bottom where the tabs hold it in place.
The back of the case had an insert with the standard game information and pics. This sheet could be removed by popping the black plastic along the left edge of the case out (easy to do and easy to put back in).
The back part of the case holds the CD with a standard CD clip right in the middle. There was also a foam rectangle that was placed over the CD to fill up the vast amount of empty space inside the case and help keep the CD in place should it come loose from its clips.
These cases are a bit fragile. The hinges on the top and bottom that hold the cover flap often break. The front and back of the case can also have cracks. But with the cover and back insert able to easily be removed, you can switch everything out to a case in better shape if you want to.
Despite their shortcomings these guys do look good on a shelf together. The cover design and graphics were often awesome.
The first few releases for the SEGA CD actually came in cardboard cases. These were about the same dimensions as the plastic one in height and width, but were about half the thickness. You would open the top flap when you could access and pull out a standard music CD style case with the game inside and the manual was tucked behind it.