Atari has filed for bankruptcy in the United States.

The company Atari Inc, which operates the iconic brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy through the US court system.

The aim is to try and separate the US-based Atari business from its debt-ridden French parent company and develop into a "modest" brand focused on mobile and digital products.

The Atari name has been used by a variety of different entities and companies for decades, after the original corporation still famous for games like Pong and Asteroids faltered in the 1980s.

Since 2001 it has been associated with the French company Infogrames, which changed its name to Atari SA in 2003.

It has since released various products, including a "greatest hits" collection of games for the iPhone and iPad. Its brand has also been licenesed for use on products like headphones and clothing - which the LA Times said makes up about 17% of its revenue.

But its financial position has not improved markedly thanks to its debts to London-based BlueBay Asset Management, and it now needs $5.25 million of financing to keep running.

It is thought the company could now be sold to an outside buyer, or a team of backers led by CEO Jim Wilson.