Atari Inc., the US branch of the 31-year old publisher, has filed for bankruptcy.

According to the LA Times, the US branch and "three of its affiliates" filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last night in an effort to "break free from their debt-laden French parent" Atari S.A, and find a buyer to privatise the company.

Better known for its range of retro classics, including Pong, Asteroids and Lunar Lander, Atari has been hounded by financial difficulties for decades.

Movie-licensed game E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is often cited as a major contributing factor to the firm's financial difficulties, after it failed to sell anywhere near Atari's expectations.

It is speculated that millions of unsold copies were dumped in a Mexican landfill site.

In later years, the firm went on to publish PC strategy titles Rollercoaster Tycoon and Act of War, Driver 1, 2, 3 and Parallel Lines, Test Drive Unlimited and the Alone in the Dark series.

The publisher is said to have organised a $28m credit facility with finance firm BlueBay, which expired on December 31, 2012, leaving it without the necessary cash to release titles currently in development.

However, if the firm is successful in its bid for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the LA Times suggests that Atari Inc. could "reemerge with its own resources and little or no debt to BlueBay."

Source: LA Times