David Warhol (NES Driver)

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David Warhol
Released 1990-08-??
Programmers David Warhol
Language 6502 Assembly
Formats Unknown

David Warhol is an unofficial name of the sound driver programmed by David Warhol. The driver was used exclusively by Realtime Associates, who would often compose music and sound for developers that needed it. The driver was programmed in 6502 assembly to run on the NES.

The only composers that used Warhol's driver were George Sanger, David Hayes, Eric Swanson, and David Warhol himself. They would create MIDI files which would be put into a program that converted the MIDI commands to a text format so the NES could read it. According to David Warhol, he would arrange the composers' MIDI files before converting them into the game. While Warhol and Hayes used Cakewalk to create their MIDI files, George Sanger used Performer for the Macintosh.

Release History

The first game to use David Warhol's NES sound driver was either Dick Tracy (Realtime Associates's first NES game) or Swords & Serpents by Interplay, in which the sound was outsourced to Realtime Associates. Both games were released on August of 1990. The last game to use the driver was Caesars Palace, released at the end of 1992. The driver was used in North American and European-exclusive titles. Even though Maniac Mansion was released in Japan, the Japanese version of Maniac Mansion was developed by Jaleco themselves instead of Realtime Assocaites.

An unreleased port of RoboCop vs. The Terminator also used Warhol's sound driver.


Warhol's driver outputs to the RP2A03 and RP2A07. The DPCM is never used. Warhol explained this was because he was unable to figure out how to use it. However, Adventures of Rad Gravity uses a raw PCM sample during the ending sequence. It is unknown if Warhol did this or if a programmer did.

The driver is probably best known for its "echo" instrument, which is caused by a hardware sweep every 13 frames. Some of the other instruments include duty cycle changes, usually used as basses. Square drums have also been used in the driver (particularly in Defenders of Dynatron City.)


Released Title Sample
1990-??-?? Total Recall (NES)
1990-08-?? Dick Tracy (NES)
1990-08-?? Swords & Serpents (NES)
1990-09-?? Maniac Mansion (NES)
1990-12-?? The Adventures of Rad Gravity (NES)
1991-01-?? Fun House (NES)
1991-05-?? The Rocketeer (NES)
1991-09-?? Monster Truck Rally (NES)
1992-07-?? Defenders of Dynatron City (NES)
1992-12-?? Caesars Palace (NES)
Unreleased RoboCop vs. The Terminator (NES)


Frequency Registers

C-6 = 34
B-5 = 37
A#5 = 3A
A-5 = 3E
G#5 = 42
G-5 = 46
F#5 = 4A
F-5 = 4F
E-5 = 53
D#5 = 58
D-5 = 5E
C#5 = 63
C-5 = 69
B-4 = 70
A#4 = 76
A-4 = 7E
G#4 = 85
G-4 = 8D
F#4 = 96
F-4 = 9F
E-4 = A8
D#4 = B2
D-4 = BD
C#4 = C8
C-4 = D4
B-3 = E1
A#3 = EE
A-3 = FD
G#3 = 10C
G-3 = 11C
F#3 = 12D
F-3 = 13F
E-3 = 152
D#3 = 167
D-3 = 17C
C#3 = 193
C-3 = 1AB
B-2 = 1C4
A#2 = 1DF
A-2 = 1FC
G#2 = 21A
G-2 = 23A
F#2 = 25C
F-2 = 280
E-2 = 2A6
D#2 = 2CF
D-2 = 2F9
C#2 = 327
C-2 = 357
B-1 = 389
A#1 = 3BF
A-1 = 3F8
G#1 = 435
G-1 = 475
F#1 = 4B9
F-1 = 501
E-1 = 54D
D#1 = 59E
D-1 = 5F3
C#1 = 64E
C-1 = 6AE
B-0 = 712
A#0 = 77E
A-0 = 7F0


Adventures of Rad Gravity: $C2EC-$C36B
Caesars Palace: $02A9-0328
Defenders of Dynatron City: $142AE-$1432D
Dick Tracy: $025F-$02DE
Fun House: $42B9-4338
Maniac Mansion: $0E2F-$0EAE
Monster Truck Rally: $34F7-$350E (Note: Not all frequency registers are shown in the game's ROM.)
RoboCop vs. The Terminator: $182A9-$18328
Rocketeer: $02AF-$032E
Swords & Serpents: $14211-$14290
Total Recall: $1824A-$182C9