Fear not, loyal reader! I'm here to help you find what you're looking for without having to go through all that troublesome thinking. Game developers are just as cash-strapped as you in these unfortunate times - let me help you make their loss your gain! Below I've listed the cream of the crop of 2009's choices for gaming on a shoestring budget. You're welcome.
(Note that despite this post's title, I'm not including pricing information here. Retailers are all equally horrible in their unique little ways*, so I'm remaining neutral as far as that goes. All I will offer you here is a heartfelt "Happy Hunting!" and my promise that each entry satisfies my requirements**.)