You might remember the older, must shittier version of this article. Don't worry. It's less crap now.
Here we go! The most pointless article I've ever written. Are you sitting comfortably?
No? Well, OK, I'll wait.
Ah, now you're ready. That's a nice cushion you've got yourself on. Then I'll begin.
Let's start in the far-off world of arcades in the year 1985. On this page, I used to say Teddy Boy Blues was the product of Coreland, a company who did a lot of work for Sega back in the eighties, including Seishun Scandal/My Hero and, critically, Pengo. It kinda fits their style, but this is probably not the case as the game's not on their GDRI gamelist and almost everywhere else save for Tinpot Gamer who notes that the game shares some sprites with other games by them. It's a mystery we can't solve! Anyway, Teddy Boy Blues is a weird little platformer taking place in a bizarre eternally-wrap-around universe where, as a small child armed with a machine gun, you have to shoot all the enemies, grab them when they're shrunk down (otherwise they scuttle towards the timer and shave time off) and, well, don't die. There's not really much to say about it, to be honest- it is what it is, and I've never found it especially great. But hey, each to their own.
So... What's it doing on this site, then?
The soundtrack. Obv.
The game's title isn't just the game's character feeling a little down- it's the name of a single released by a Japanese talent of the time, Yohko Ishino, pictured above. Essentially, the game is a giant advert for the song and Ishino herself- she appears and is named on the title screen where she takes centre stage, and one of the selectable bonus games has you playing as Ishino as she searches someone's living room for sacks of money (and, as btribble from UnMAMED taught me, the bonus game is not, as previously reported, impossible- you have to play it multiple times to beat it). Most importantly, of course, an instrumental version of the Teddy Boy Blues song plays during the game and on the title screen. This was before you could get three-tiered PCBs to blast out actual vocals (hi, Psycho Soldier!) so you'll just have to settle for a cheery 8-bit version that plays forever. And ever. And ever. Forever, and ever and ever!
Truly, the world of Teddy Boy Blues is a nightmarish place.... But where am I going with this?
The thing is... I tried to find out more about Ishino, and specifically find her music, and failed miserably. You see, I was really curious. You've got this video game that's so associated with her that most sites actually call it Teddy Boy Blues - Yohko Ishino- like her name is actually part of the title- it kinda is, I suppose, as it appears that way on the title screen even if most sources just call it Teddy Boy Blues (and let me tell you, this makes finding out information about the song basically impossible in English). And yet... Nothin'. Nada. Sod all. Oh sure, I found a fansite for her, which is where I got the photos of Ishino for this, but it felt like no matter where I looked- including no less than three J-pop message boards- I was going nowhere. The real problem was the fact that I was hilariously, catastrophically out of my comfort zone as my knowledge of Japanese idols is limited to virtual idols, the fact that Katsuhiro Harada loves IDOLM@STER, and several months playing the iOS LoveLive! game which was basically a terrible mistake and we'll leave it at that. It didn't help that, way back when, I didn't even think to search in Japanese. The end result was that I could only find a handful of songs, presented below, and this page was basically worthless.
Yohko Ishino Song Pack
Now, however, we've fixed it! We have learned, dear reader! We have learned. We got an email from Crabamoustache pointing us in the direction of a streamable version of Ishino's GOLDEN ☆ BEST album which got us back on the trail. And by 'back on the trail' we mean 'I finally had a look at the Japanese wikipedia page for Yohko Ishino which should've been the first thing I did but you must remember I am dangerously incompetent at times'. From that page, we learned Ishino released seven singles (each with a b-side) and the GOLDEN ☆ BEST album, and to be honest music was probably the smallest part of her career. She actually did far more work in TV drama than singing. Teddy Boy Blues seems to have been her biggest hit in her singing career, which is strange as it's not on the GOLDEN ☆ BEST album. In any case, searching for her name in Japanese brings up plenty of videos of live performances of Teddy Boy Blues and a couple of her other songs, but as far as the singing goes, that's about it. Search for her TV drama work and you get a lot more stuff. So the song she's the most famous for... Isn't really what she's most famous for.
So, like the best stories, this one has an ending that basically leads nowhere, so I've wasted my time.
At least your time got wasted too, though! Hahaha! That's the greatest joke of all!
... So with that nonsense out of the way, let's have a look at some other versions of the game.
In Japan, Teddy Boy Blues kept its name and was actually one of the launch titles for the Mark III as they call it over there (it was released only as a card-based game, though). It also kept its music just the same, although Yohko herself no longer appeared in-game (she's not on the title screen and the bonus room is completely different). Over in the West (as just a card in the US, but as both a card and a cartridge in the UK) the game was renamed Teddy Boy with all the music changed... But the ghost of Yohko Ishino still lingers! Specifically, despite not appearing in the game at all, a character called Yoko is mentioned and pictured in the instruction manual when listing the characters in the game, like so:
Incidentally, the entire manual is a goldmine of terrible English. And don't start me on the French translation...
Anyway, a far more intriguing version of the game was released for the Mega Drive... Kind-of. It was released on the Sega Net service, which allowed Japanese users with a Mega Modem to download very small games (including Flicky and Labyrinth of Death / Fatal Labyrinth, released outside Japan on cart) onto a small cartridge called the Sega Game Toshokan, footage of which can be seen here actually downloading a game from back when it was operational. In any case, Teddy Boy Blues is an enhanced port in the same way Flicky was for the system. In particular, the graphics have all been redrawn completely, including a nice touch in the form of the windows in the background that show a cityscape or the night sky outside. However, the bonus stages are missing entirely, and presumably due to licensing issues, the Yohko Ishino soundtrack is missing, replaced with original music. However, if you've found a ROM of this particular version on the internet, you'll notice there's no music at all, because it's ripped from the CD version, which didn't use the onboard FM for music. What CD version? The one below, of course.
See? Told you. It actually made it to the Mega-CD twice, first in 1992 and then 1994. The 1992 version might legitimately be the strangest Sega video game of all time, because- and I promise I'm not making this up- if you bought the absolutely amazing SING!! Sega Game Music presented by B.B. Queens, an album of vocal versions of Sega songs including Outrun, Quiz Scramble 3 in 1 and Golden Axe II, and then popped it into your Mega-CD. then it will load up the MD Teddy Boy Blues. The difference is you can select which background music to listen to from the album itself so if you want to blow up toy soldiers while hearing someone belt out "I'LL BE YOUR BURNIN' LOVE" to the strains of After Burner, then this is the version for you! Curiously, the original Teddy Boy Blues isn't on this CD. One of the songs, Funky Brothers, is listed as being an image song for Teddy Boy Blues, but is actually an amalgamation of songs from the cancelled arcade game SegaSonic Bros., and parts of the song can be heard when starting a new game on Easy and when the player reaches Level 20. The 1994 version is a bit less interesting- it was included in Game no Kanzume Vol. 2 for the Mega-CD (a collection of other Sega Net games) but instead uses a CD version of the soundtrack from the Sega Net version.
As an amusing post-script, I tried to find out if a particular Game Gear advert was of Ishino as well.
Unfortunately, now every time I search Google for Yohko Ishino, I show up in the results.
(Pretty sure the girl in said ad was Yumiko Takahashi, 'image character' of the Game Gear at the time.)
After I report you to the authorities for internet-stalking, I'm going back to the main page!