@pleonasm - People still do that, you know. Chat rooms don't want to be bogged down by a lot of image files that take a long time to load. ASCII art takes almost no time to load because it's so simple.
And there are some amazing creations out there. People who have managed to make photo realistic art using only ASCII characters.
Of course, there are also programs now which will do that for you. Once you break down each character so that it's just a way to make the screen lighter or darker, it's probably not that hard to make a program that would translate photos into ASCII art fairly quickly.
When you think about it smilies and things like that could also be called ASCII art, so we still use them all the time.