The Mystery Of The Victor Wondercast

We've looked at - and failed to find any concrete details on - several mysterious and largely undocumented variations of the Dreamcast hardware here at the Junkyard in recent times. There was the F1 World Grand Prix II custom console which we kinda deduced was either a fan-made console or a professionally created competition prize; and then there was the Coca-Cola Dreamcast that even the Coca-Cola archive couldn't give us any solid answers about. But now there's a new mystery to pore over, and it's probably the most tantalising yet. Before I go any further though, props must go to a Dreamcast fan and collector who goes by the online name Sega Emultion Sanshiro (no relation to Segata Sanshiro, I'm sure), who is responsible for bringing this whole topic to my attention. What am I talking about? Why, the Victor Wondercast of course!

Now, it's common knowledge in retro circles that Victor (or JVC in most territories) released a special edition of the Sega Saturn called the V-Saturn. The V-Saturn is essentially the same console as the standard Sega Saturn, but with a few internal differences and a different boot screen and logo (check out the entry at Sega Retro for more information). The firm also released licensed versions of other Sega consoles too. What isn't common knowledge, is that Victor/JVC may very well have been planning to license the Dreamcast hardware and produce their own version of the console, dubbed 'Wondercast.' The only proof we have of this comes in the form of a single image, printed in the August 1998 issue of defunct French games magazine Consoles+:
The image is very small and pixellated, but it clearly shows a purple Dreamcast with the Victor logo and the name Wondercast, along with the code number RG-X0 1. This is interesting because JVC/Victor's previous Sega consoles also had similar RG codes - RG-X1 for the V-Saturn and RG-M2 for the Wondermega. The accompanying article is mainly about the impending launch of the Dreamcast and Sega's plans for the console, but this single image is the only evidence we know of that the Victor Wondercast ever existed or was planned. The original is below, along with an isolated image of the console (click for larger versions):

You can also find the entire magazine scanned and archived here. It's worth mentioning that the rest of the Dreamcast feature has some interesting screens of proposed games that never came out, but we're here to discuss the Wondercast. The text along with the image of the Wondercast is in French, and translates as:

"Dreamcast technology can be bought and marketed by other manufacturers. Here is a picture of a console manufactured by Victor."

Was this claim an error on the part of the writer of the article, or is the Victor Wondercast a project that was planned and simply cancelled after an initial image was released to the press? Sega Emultion Sanshiro has done his own research and drawn a blank even after trying to contact the author, and I have asked plenty of people in the Dreamcast and wider retro communities if they know anything about this mysterious image. Sadly, it seems that the vast majority of people have no knowledge of this thing or concept ever existing. I've also been plundering the depths of the JVC and Victor Japanese websites from the late 1990s (via Wayback) and can find no mention of the system.
It's more than likely little more than a mock-up or prototype that never made it off the drawing board, but you'd think that with so much known about the Dreamcast, and the long and storied history of the console, we'd have seen this by now. At the very least it would be documented somewhere online, other than in the pages of this long forgotten French games magazine. In any case, it's an interesting glimpse at 'what if' and we can only speculate about the hardware differences and what could possibly warrant the name 'Wondercast.'

If you have any further information about this puzzling oddity, please get in touch via the comments or join the discussion in our Facebook group.

6 comments:

neko68k said...

It's probably called 'Wondercast' as a nod to a previous system, the Wondermega. It's a JVC/Victor made MegaDrive. Similarly, the Saturn was sold not just by Sega but also by JVC/Victor(V-Saturn), Hitachi(Hi-Saturn) and in Korea by Samsung. This might be more of that cross-licensing type stuff.

pcwzrd13 said...

Interesting! Although I can't say that I've always wanted a purple Dreamcast. :-P

Tom Charnock said...

Lies. I have it on good authority that you have many purple Dreamcasts

Tom Evans said...

It's so pixelated that it looks denim lol

The GagaMan(n) said...

What a bizarre colour choice, but would of been interesting to have a Dreamcast out there with a different name! You know outside of the Treamcast but that doesn't really count being bootleg and all.

hoogafanter said...

I already have a purple Dreamcast :)