Quoted from Butch2099:
Try to play a game in the wild before buying it. Find out what YOU like. Just because it's ranked high here doesn't mean it's for you.
This. It never ceases to amaze me when people ask what are the "best" games in a certain price range. Well, what are the best movies in a certain genre? Best bands? Best songs? Even if you get a general consensus, you might be totally bored with a game that I am competely addicted to, and vice versa.
I can think of quite a few games that are generally considered great that I have little intetest in. Likewise, I own and love a game that is not typically very well liked. Find as many places in the wild to play as many machines as possible. You will be shocked at games you thought you would love and games you thought you would not being just the opposite.
Also, since you say you're a stickler for clean looking items, do yourself a favor and spend a bit more on a nice game. A couple of Pinsiders gave me that advice and I am so happy that I spent a bit more for HUO game with low plays. It sounds like you would be too.