This lovely creature is the JVC X’EYE. JVC (Victor Company of Japan, VCJ reversed, those crazy Japanese) was commissioned by SEGA for the audio chips for their SEGA CD. With that deal, SEGA allowed JVC to use their technology to make a game system. And so was spawned the X’EYE, also called the Wondermeg in Japan. While I never laid a hand on one of these back in the day, or an eye for that matter, once I started collecting and selling I wanted one of these bad. Now that I have one, you’d have to pry it from my cold dead hands.
This great system is basically a SEGA Genesis and a SEGA CD combined into one. Wonder Dog, a SEGA CD game, is/was actually the mascot for this system. They also added MIDI and KARAOKE support, in fact the original box came with a KARAOKE CD. This baby was released for $499 in 1994, a few months after the SEGA CDX, which did the same thing (without the karaoke) in a smaller, cheaper and sexier package, so the JVC was doomed from the get go. But don’t let that stop you from drooling…you want one!
The JVC X’EYE
Multi Entertainment System
This machine seems to be well put together. The JVC X’EYE will play Music CD’s, CD-G’s and SEGA CD and Genesis games. The color is an nice blue-grey and it’s all-in-one package has a nice low profile so it will fit better in some places than an original SEGA CD & Genesis might. It has ports or buttons on nearly every side so let’s go over those.
The front of the JVC X’EYE has 2 controller ports located in the center. These will work with all SEGA Genesis controllers and peripherals far as I’ve seen.
NOTE: The X’EYE is actually the US version of the Wondermeg 2, with several features removed to cut cost. One feature was wireless controllers. The section that has the controller ports in these pictures was a clear IR plate for 2 wireless controllers, very cool!
On the top left of the machine you get the Power and Reset buttons that function just like they do on the normal Genesis/CD combo. Above that you have the standard SEGA Genesis cartridge slot. On the right side you have an open button which, you guessed it, opens the CD tray. This is a clam like opening similar to the SEGA CD 2 and has a nice slow action. You it press down maunally to lock it back in place. Right below the CD tray is a smokey plastic which houses a power light and an access light similar to the original SEGA CD.
On the right side of the machine there is a headphone jack and a volume dial to control it with. Next to those is a MIC port for use with a standard voice microphone. You can plug in a microphone and sing along with any music CD.
NOTE: On the CD dashboard, accessed by turning on the system with no games inserted, there is a cool function which will reduce the vocals of music CDs. So you can sing along to any music CD, not just karaoke ones.
Moving on the the back of the unit, or the business end if you will, we have all the connection ports. What’s nice about the X’EYE is that is has standard RCA out ports (red, white & yellow). That means you don’t need any special SEGA AV Cable to connect this to the TV. You can use good old RCA cables, which you probably have a few sets laying around the house somewhere. Now, located between the yellow and white ports is a small RF input, this would only work with a special RF switch (RF-S10J) that came with the system and actually plugs into the yellow video port, the white audio port and the RF all at once. To the right of those ports you do have the standard SEGA AV port that uses the SEGA Genesis 2 AV Cable. And finally you have the Power port which uses the JVC AC Apater AA-S95J. Visit our HOW TO section for the JVC X’EYE to learn how to hook this guy up.
NOTE: While I have read in many locations about an S-Video port, I have never seen one with it on the 2 dozen or so I’ve held. But you can see where the port would be and it’s just convered over. It may have only been on the Japanese Wondermeg version.
The 3-Button Controller
The JVC X’EYE comes with one 3-button controller. This is exactly like the SEGA Genesis version except there is a JVC logo in the middle instead of the normal SEGA Genesis logo. 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. However, 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.
These 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 appear the same cosmetically.
The 6-Button Controller
The JVC X’EYE can use any controller made for the SEGA Genesis. In 1993 SEGA released a 6-button controller. 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 recessed concave shape. This makes them 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 which 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 (one’s 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 Genesis (JVC X’EYE) Games
The SEGA Genesis was the first 16-bit system to hit the US. This brought an expanded color palette and higher resolution and detailed graphics than the 8-bit systems before. Games started to resemble their arcade counterparts more closely and this was used as a selling point. You can find pretty much any game type you fancy for the system–from arcade classics, RPGs, platformers and action titles. Sports games really started to grow with the 16-bit era with SEGA Sports with EA Sports leading the way. With the abundance of quality titles it is an easy system to collect for.
The SEGA Genesis is a cartridge based system. For most of the Genesis’ life the games came in a plastic box, with clips inside that held the cartridge. There are normally tabs on the inside front that held the manual in place. These are the same boxes that were used for the SEGA Master System.
Being a plastic box these guys have held up pretty well. There is a clear mylar sleeve around the box that the game cover slips into. This allows the box art to hold up pretty well over time also. You can remove the game cover from the top or bottom of the box (opening the box gives a little slack to the mylar sleeve allowing you to reach in and pull out the cover). If yours is damaged you can even print your own cover and slide it in!
Most of the manuals were in color and informative (not like the lack of manuals with games these days). In addition to the manual you would often find several postcard like inserts that might offer phone numbers for tips or other games.
In the later years of the SEGA Genesis, many games were shipping in a cardboard box. This box had close to the same dimensions of the plastic boxes, but lost the durability. There is a box with and indentation created to hold the cartridge and the manual was usually found behind the game itself. So you can pop out the game, but you would have to open the box from the top to pull out the manual. It’s also a pain to put the manual back in sometimes as the flaps that create to hole for the cartridge will snag on the manual. Also by this time most of the manuals were printed in black & white. Over the cardboard box container is a cardboard sleeve that slides over everything from the top or bottom. As the whole package is now cardboard these guys do not hold up over time as well as the plastic ones.
If you have the option, get the plastic box whenever you can!
SEGA (JVC X’EYE) CD Games
The X’EYE will play all SEGA CDs. 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 which 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 smalls tabs. This can be 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.