HP and Toshiba are good PC's, Toshiba being the best but pricey. i guess the main thing i could say is figure out what kind of things you want in it and then start going to sites that let you build you spec laptop and see who has the best deals not only price but other goodies they gicve you as well in the package.
Im going to be starting college in the fall and did a lot of research. Im going to be an architecture major, so my pc specs are higher than that of the average users. I too need a pc that can play my games. What I've noticed is that you want to stray away from the intel graphics. You need an nvidia chip in there or ati. I gave the Sony's a look and theyre all over priced and their performance lacks. I am going to personally get a dell, despite the much dislike I have for the newer service they have. For me their Dell Latitude is just what I need for my major. It cant handle games, as well as none quadro chips, however the best graphics aren't a must for a laptop(IMO). What's your price range? The latitude I configured came out to around 2k with tax. This is with no discounts.
If you have no preference of operating system, did you ever check out the Mac's? They're specs are pretty impressive on the Pro line.
personally, i would recommend a dell. they're pretty well priced and are pretty reliable computers.