Yes to totally new, no to horror show and yes to Windows 7. Doesn't help a bit, does it!
Inland and I have been running Windows 8 for some time. After an initial slight (for me) learning curve, I like it on my strictly desktop, keyboard and mouse quite a lot. It is really fast and has resurrected some pretty old systems that couldn't run Vista. Interesting read here from Paul Thurott... Windows 8 Installfest
Yes, it has the Modern or Metro or whatever they will call it side with the tiles which will contain all your start menu items. It is highly customizable and not nearly the really ugly default screen they have at startup. The Metro Hater's Guide to Customizing Windows 8
Should you prefer a more familiar look and feel, just switch to the desktop side and you're looking at Windows 7. Miss your Start button? There are already some 3rd party solutions out there. I'm using Stardock Start 8, but there are others.
My advice to people is if you have Windows 7 and like it, there is no compelling reason to get Windows 8 for the time being.
Wincey, I'm not sure what games you're having problems with, but in our Windows 7 and Games thread here, we have had excellent success running games much older than 2005. I'm playing Vampire Bloodlines from 2002 on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 right now. I also loaded up Dracula The Last Sanctuary from 2001 on both operating systems and all I had to do was run in it compatibility mode. Check out our thread here... Windows 7 and Games
I'm anticipating Windows 8 will be very much the same as Windows 7 as far as gaming goes.