Yes, the games are great, if you like space sims. They have a fairly steep learning curve, but once you get used to the controls, HUD, and navigating your way around and stuff, they become a lot of fun. You can play it pretty much however you want - there *is* a plot to follow in each game, but it's kind enough to not push you - and you can play and even forget the plot is there. It's one of those "play how you want" games. You can be a merchant and build a gigantic trade empire, create a manufacturing empire (including building mining stations all the way up to whatever product you're producing), be a pirate, build an unstoppable military fleet... It's a wide-open game series.
Best ones are Terran Conflict and Albion Prelude, so you'd be better off beating the average or $6 or whatever they're doing now.
"How do I get rid of a Trojan Horse?" -Sailor_Kakashi "Leave it outside the gates of Troy overnight." -Davel23