Would the Thinkpad Edge E425 fit the bill? Preferably with a few upgrades over the base model (the A4 CPU for sure, and probably more RAM and maybe the 500GB 7.2k RPM HDD), but the price is low enough to easily fit within your budget, even with those.
The graphics card might be a little weak for your tastes - the 6470M falls somewhere between integrated GPUs and true discrete cards, really - but most games should be at least playable. You also get a few nice fringe benefits - 7200RPM hard drive, matte screen, TrackPoint, and a decent keyboard to name a few.
If you want a little more oomph at the cost of some of the ThinkPad perks, Newegg does have this Acer
which seems to be pretty well regarded, as well as this MSI
(which keeps the 7200 RPM hard drive, which is a big deal IMO).