On the topic of releasing games for free- it seems people are in awe that a developer out there would do it. It's not necessarily a great thing. It's called, "The game is old and not making any sales, so it's time for some free publicity."
A lot of games don't get released because of binding contracts with publishers and the like. If you don't have those, it's no loss to you to release a game you know can only now do one thing- potentially get people interested in your improved versions.