Mike Riedel (NES Driver)

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Mike Riedel
Released 1990-01-??
Programmers Mike Riedel
Language 6502 Assembly

Mike Riedel is an unofficial name of the NES sound driver used at Riedel Software Productions. It was programmed by Mike Riedel, founder and lead programmer of RSP.

Nick Scarim was the primary composer to use the driver. However, Russell Ginns used it for Sesame Street Countdown, Doug Brandon used it for The Great Waldo Search, Bill Bogenreif used the driver for Rollerblade Racer, and Peter Stone used it for The Chessmaster.

Release History

RSP only developed four games, but they provided their sound engine to The Software Toolworks for The Chessmaster, as well as Designer Software/Radiance Software for their game Rollerblade Racer. The driver was also used in Radiance Software's NES version of The Great Waldo Search.

Excluding The Chessmaster, which was released in the USA and Europe, each game that uses the driver was exclusive to the USA and wasn't released in Europe or Japan.


The driver outputs to the RP2A03. While it doesn't use the DPCM channel for music, it does use it for very high quality speech. The only exception to this is The Great Waldo Search, in which the title screen music is completely digitized.

In Big Bird's Hide and Speak, the driver sounds noticeably different from the other games that use the driver. According to its programmer Mike Riedel, they had to remove all but a few of the instruments due to the large amount of digitized speech that was put into the game, as digitized sound took up a significant amount of space in NES games. The games Sesame Street Countdown, Great Waldo Search, and Rollerblade Racer share the same exact sound effects.


Mike Riedel programmed the sound driver in 6502 assembly language, as well as a program to convert the composers' MIDI files into text for the sound driver to utilize.


Released Title Sample
1990-01-?? The Chessmaster (NES)
1990-03-?? Win, Lose Or Draw (NES)
1990-05-?? MTV: Remote Control (NES)
1990-10-?? Big Bird's Hide and Speak (NES)
1992-02-?? Sesame Street: Countdown (NES)
1992-12-?? The Great Waldo Search (NES)
1993-02-?? Rollerblade Racer (NES)


Frequency Registers

The driver only contains A-0 to G#1. It then uses an algorithm to divide each frequency by 2 to attain to higher frequencies.

G#1 = 435
G-1 = 467
F#1 = 4B9
F-1 = 501
E-1 = 54D
D#1 = 59E
D-1 = 5F4
C#1 = 64E
C-1 = 6AE
B-0 = 714
A#0 = 780
A-0 = 7F2


  • The Great Waldo Search, Rollerblade Racer, and Sesame Street Countdown share the same exact sound effects.