Why Chosen: I know that the Commodore 64 was a rival out at about the same time, but we were an Atari family. This proved to be one of the greatest things that any kid could ask for in the 8-bit graphic era of video games. In addition, you could play on a black and white TV and still be able to tell everything about the game being played, the grayscale was that awesome on this pioneer of the video game era. Throw in the fact that some stores would sell video games at $3-4 each and you could expect a new game from the parents at any time. My parents never got into the video games on the Atari, it wasn't until Tetris on the original Nintendo that they played at all.
Worst thing to happen to this toy: Can't recall a whole bunch that went wrong here. We were rough on the joysticks and the rubber cover would come off and they could still be usuable. I think we broke a couple joysticks because some games were not playable with either the one button not responding of there would be no sensitivity while moving the joystick around. The only other thing that I can think we did bad to this was simple abandonment. After we got a Nintendo (then later a Sega Genesis), the Atari became outdated and forgotten about.
Where are they now?: Not a clue, the system could be anywhere and I wouldn't have the slightest idea. I think most of the games were given to a friend in high school because he loved retro/vintage things and wanted to build up his Atari game collection.
If I could play with them today, would I?: No, I'm not much of a video game player anymore. With the exception of some Wii Sports or Rock Band at parties/gatherings, my video game playing days are behind me. Some of my fellow blog contest participants would never give up video games. If they were to come up with an iPhone app for Atari, I'd reconsider.
Relevant in today's times?: Video games = yes. Atari = no. Look at the commercial below, they stand no chance of competing in today's market.