How is "access time" important exactly?

I’m looking to buy an optical drive for a gaming PC that I’m building… and I was thinking of purchasing the NEC-3540a.

However, this drive has been reported to have “high access times.” At the same time, it is said to have “fast CD and DVD read speeds.”

So, I’m a little confused as to how this will influence gaming on my machine… if at all. Can someone explain to me what I will notice with a drive with “high access times?” Is it only important when playing back movies? Or would I notice a degradation in performance when playing games (i.e. increased load times, increased installation times?). Does a drive with higher access times take longer to copy data from CD to HD?

In reading reviews of the BenQ DW1620a, I see that it has some of the “lowest access times” of any DVD burner. At the same time, it has lower “read speeds” than the NEC. So, I’m unsure if that is better or worse for my purposes.

I’m only planning to use my drive for occassional copying/burning, so reading performance in terms of running CDs and DVDs is the most important to me. That being a case, would I notice any difference between the drives?