If you want something that is fairly easy to use, there really is nothing that comes close to Ubuntu.
Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and is also fairly easy to use, but it has even more
applications installed by default than Ubuntu does. That said, they give you a choice of several other desktop environments and have some nice things (such as codecs) installed by default that Ubuntu does not. The way they setup their system is not kosher, which is why neither Ubuntu nor Debian are configured similarly, but new or less-technical users generally don't care. Since it is directly based on Ubuntu, all software that runs on Ubuntu (such as Steam) will run on Linux Mint without issues.
Arch is a really great distro if you're a power user, masochist, or simply enjoy learning how
the system works. Arch users generally learn very quickly how
the system is setup, and they gain a solid technical understanding of the operating system they run. The package manager does almost nothing automatically and only the minimal number of system management utilities are provided by the project. I definitely wouldn't recommend it for a beginner because of the steep learning curve and expected entry level of expertise.
Fedora is also fairly easy to use, like Ubuntu, but it has just as many applications installed by default, a smaller set of software in their repository, and generally more "rough edges". I would only recommend Fedora if you were a system administrator who regularly deals with Red Hat systems.
openSUSE is still struggling to find their target audience. I only mention it because I think
it is still considered a major distribution. It has a very nice KDE
desktop that generally looks very polished. Beyond that, they don't have too many strong points. I wouldn't recommend this distribution to anyone.
Therefore, the easiest thing to do is probably install Ubuntu and simply remove the applications you don't want, just like you have been doing.
Once you are more comfortable with how the operating system works you could consider moving to Arch, Debian, Gentoo, or some other distribution by judging their technical merits for yourself.