I have a Radeon 9800 pro, and even though its old, it plays F.E.A.R at high settings all except for antialising, and smooth shadowing, at a nice res of 800x600 smooth... gets about 40-60fps...
At 1024x768 it drops to 25fps sometimes, which is of course, still playable. Its more CPU orientated than graphics alot of the time.
But yeah, if you want to be playing new games in the future at high settings, your best going with the best one you can afford. It'll more than likely be worth it, and last you a good few years.
P.S, I wouldn't really blaim the software developers as they just try to take use of new technology.
I mean, if you were making a game, wouldn't you like to use all the advanced cababilities available to you? Of course you would! Especially since alot of games these days are rated on graphics.
If you have to blaim something though, blaim the video card manufacturers competing. Thats probably the best option
And $200 doesnt seem like ALOT of money, if you consider it could last you a very long time, and make games playable for ages. The 6600GT though still could (miles better than my card, and that can run F.E.A.R well enough to keep me happy) be quite a good purchase, even though its getting on a bit. Just don't expect to be able to play at super high settings and resoloutions on all games.