Don Hodges, the same fellow who brought the 26-year-old Easter egg for the Atari 400/800 version of Donkey Kong to light (he also writes informative articles about reverse engineering classic titles), discovered another hidden message in a Landon Dyer-ported game, this time for the Atari port of Super Pac-Man.

The 1984 game -- which never saw an official release but was leaked in a near-complete form -- scrolls a short message, " 4 A GOOD TIME JSR 91BD", if you hit reset at the right time in between stages and while the screen is flashing. You can see a short clip of it after the break.

Hodges says it's a play on the "For a good time, call 123-4567" messages often scrawled in men's bathroom stalls, with JSR standing for Jump to SubRoutine (the equivalent of Call in computer assembly language) and 91BD referring to a computer memory address in the game lacking any special function.

Though he admits that the Easter egg is relatively easy to trigger on accident, Hodges found the message by sifting through Super Pac-Man's 6502 assembly language code and using emulators.

Dyer, who ported the arcade game while working at Atari, explains that one of the marketing employees asked him to add in the Easter egg, and that the 91BD message originally had more to it:

... I couldn’t think of anything to put in. To tell the truth, I was pretty burnt out (and this was like April or May of ’84, with layoffs happening literally every two weeks), and my heart wasn’t really in it (I had some personal things going on – girlfriend-moving-to-Minnesota type stuff), and I drew a blank. So all I did was to repurpose some display code I already had around, and stuck that scrolling message in. 91BD was supposed to do something more interesting (I dunno, maybe a shower of pacmen or ghosts or something), but I didn’t finish it up.

Also, once you have permission, nay, /orders/ to do something, it’s not that much fun any more. Suddenly doing an easter egg flipped from being something hidden, a secret way to sign the work and get credit, to a product feature that would be reviewed by other people. And I probably still wouldn’t get credit.

So, yet another lame easter egg. The DK one I can blame on having essentially no ROM space left to do anything interesting with; this one you can put squarely on my shoulders – a lack of imagination, zero enthusiasm, depression, and a lack of “by sticking in this secret easter egg I’m poking a virtual finger in The Man’s eye.”

I think I’m proud of /everything/ in SuperPac except for that stupid easter egg. Ironic, innit?

You can read the full technical details about how Hodges found Super Pac-Man's hidden message here.