David Thiel

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David Dwyer Thiel
Born 1950?-05-12
Birth Place
Nationality American   USA.svg
  • DDT

David Thiel is an American composer, sound designer, and audio programmer. He attended De Pauw University from 1968 to 1972, and worked as a freelance musician and synthesizer salesman until entering the video game industry at the start of the 1980s.

He worked for Gottlieb between 1980 and 1983, with perhaps his most notable project in that period being Q*bert (ARC), which he was selected to work on because he was interested in speech synthesis, and the developers wanted to use an early speech synthesis chip. After Thiel determined that the chip was not advanced enough to render the speech the designers actually wanted, however, he instead programmed it to have the characters speak the alien-sounding gibberish that became the game's trademark.

After leaving Gottlieb he worked for Epyx until 1985, and then for Incredible Technologies from 1985 to 1993, creating music and sound effects for a variety of arcade and home computer games. He then went to work for Microsoft for the remainder of the 1990s, but returned to the game industry at the start of the 2000s, when he started focusing on audio content for pinball machines.

Thiel's last name used to be misspelled as Thielat, most likely due to a hidden comment in Rock n' Bolt (C64) which clearly lacks a few spaces.

Music Development

Commodore 64

While working at Epyx, Thiel created a sound driver named DDTSS (David Dwyer Thiel Sound System), which had the ability to use the three channels of the system's SID sound chip to output PCM samples along with the usual waveform output. Usually these PCM outputs were used for sound effects, though a few of Thiel's soundtracks used them for bass or percussion samples.


Released Title Sample Notes
1982-10-?? Q*bert (ARC)
1982-??-?? Reactor (ARC)
1983-??-?? Mad Planets (ARC)
1983-??-?? M.A.C.H. 3 (ARC)
1983-??-?? Q*bert's Qubes (ARC)
1985-0?-?? Rock n' Bolt (C64)
1985-0?-?? Winter Games (C64)
1986-??-?? Championship Wrestling (C64)
1986-??-?? Family Feud (C64)
1987-??-?? Winter Games (AMI)
1987-??-?? The Three Stooges (AMI)
1988-01-?? Jeopardy! (C64)
1988-0?-?? Card Sharks (C64) Taken from Thiel's older games and edited by someone else?
1988-0?-?? Classic Concentration (C64) Taken from Thiel's older games and edited by someone else?
1988-??-?? Capcom Bowling (ARC)
1989-0?-?? MTV Remote Control (C64) Sound Driver
1990-??-?? DuckTales: The Quest for Gold (AMI)
1990-??-?? DuckTales: The Quest for Gold (AST)
1990-??-?? DuckTales: The Quest for Gold (DOS)
Unreleased Faster, Harder, More Challenging Q*bert (ARC)