1. When the maze starts to close when you exit, starts the timer, for the counter to check to see if you are moving or not for the attract mode.
2. Every 4 1/4 seconds, the game does a check to see if you are moving. If you are moving, it triggers a counter.
3. The counter varies on when you hit reset on the game. To get the max counter, you play game one, and hold reset essentially when you turn on the Atari.
Two counters are reset when you initially powerup the console: The frame counter and the attract mode timer. The frame counter is updated 60 times per second (50 for PAL)...rolling to zero after 255. At those specific frames when rolling over during a game, the attract mode timer is updated only if: a)you are not moving the character, and b)you have the opportunity TO move the character (i.e. time spent dying or moving between screens does not increase the attract timer). It's important to note that inputting an "impossible" direction such as up and down simultaneously would count as "moving"...so use a hacked cord with wires twisted together if you need to use the toilet.
Neither counter is specifically reset to zero by the program at any time...they just roll from 255 to zero. You can ONLY be sure that the attract timer is zero for the first 255 frames when powering up...make your game selection quick (moving the stick has no effect during game select). Beginning a game will increase the attract timer +1 from whatever value it currently holds.
When the attract timer rolls over to zero during a game, the game will end immediately. This can also happen if your reserve life counter reaches 128...so be sure to kill 'em off regularly.