My apologies, as I am one of the least technical guys that you will find around the message boards. I cannot believe that there is such an utterly brilliant game like this that still exists, and not only that, it has a dedicated community, making sure that it does not get lost in time, technologically, in the age of unatmospheric recycled crap we get these days.
All I can contribute to this celebratory topic is a small Freespace 2 story, when I went through the game for the first time:
I remembered on the first assignment with my favourite squadron of all time, the 242nd 'Suicide Kings', I was to put the Perseus on it's first combat trial. That is, to defend the space station from a few cruisers, wings of bombers and a whole frigging crapload of missiles.
After the attrociously sluggish heavy bomber I flew in the previous assignment, the new intercept was so silky smooth and responsive. However, the waves of bombers, missiles, and capital ship beams pushed everything that little nippy fighter has to offer. I wasted half of my missiles, fourty percent of my hull (yesh, I am not too skilled), and down to the last half of my squadron, I groaned in dispair when another wing of bombers jumped in on the other side of the station.
I pushed my afterburners, and blasted more cyclops missiles. And then, command informed me of a jump signature. The space infront of me began to rip and fold in the usual, characteristic way whenever that event occurs. But the thing is, it was MORE THAN A SCREEN WIDE! I groaned in dispair, believing that it is the end of the space station and my mission, then something unheard of happened.
COMMAND ACTUALLY TOLD ME IT IS A FRIENDLY IFF! And not only that, I witness, first of all the breathtaking size of that gigantic monstrocity, and then the way it took the hapless NTF destroyer with absurd ease. In the briefing, they told me that history just unfolded there and I was there to see it first hand. I felt so proud.
That mission demostrated the game's ability to put me into the game, and it has been a long while since I found anything that made me feel that emotional in each battle. I will remember Freespace 2 till my dying days.