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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Atari lives again
Enter the Matrix screenshot
Atari is counting on a big hit with Enter the Matrix
Atari, one of the legends of video gaming, is back on the scene.

The name has been revived by a French games publisher, which abandoned its Infogrames moniker in favour of the veteran brand.

The Atari name is the most revered in the gaming history, with a venerable repertoire of classic games such as Pong and Asteroids.

"In any language, Atari is synonymous with video games and it's recognised for transforming entertainment," said Bruno Bonnell, Chief Executive Officer of Atari.

"Perhaps the greatest part of the Atari legacy is the recipe for creating games that capture an audience's imagination."

Chequered history

The Atari name dates back to the early 1970s, when Nolan Bushnell set up the company in California and released Pong.

It's the perfect moment in our history to make this change
Bruno Bonnell, Atari CEO
The huge success of the table tennis game with blocky black-and-white graphics went on to kick-start the video game industry.

Since then, Atari has gone through various incarnations. It has been owned by Warner Communications, now known as AOL Time Warner as well as by toymaker Hasbro, which sold it to Infogrames in 2001.

Infogrames had already started using the Atari label to publish some its games.

But it has now gone the whole way in an effort to boost its profile ahead of a big games industry show in Los Angeles next week.

Matrix game

The company decided to announce the change to capitalise on the release of a video game based on forthcoming The Matrix Reloaded film.

"It's the perfect moment in our history to make this change," said Mr Bonnell.

Atari is placing great hopes on the Enter the Matrix game, which goes on sale on 15 May to coincide with the release of the film.

It has shipped four million copies of the game worldwide and is available for the PlayStation 2, the Xbox, the GameCube and the PC.

The success of the game is widely seen as the key to the company meeting its sales forecasts.

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