Gamers love banging on about how good their favourite console is, but there's one thing and one thing alone that makes a good game system great, and that's a brilliant controller.
The controller, also known as the gamepad or joypad, is what gamers use to perform death-defying skateboard tricks, score Ronaldo-beating goals or shoot their way out of alien-infested spaceships.
A piece of plastic converts us from mere mortals into super-human beings, capable of doing anything. But what are the best controllers ever? Here's our utterly unscientific, totally subjective top five -- feel free to heartily disagree in comments below. -Andrew Lim
Update: Thanks for all your comments, peeps. We should have made it clear that the list was in order of date, from oldest to newest, so we're not saying the Xbox 360 controller is the number one ever, just the best at the moment. Yes, we think it's better than the Wii. No, Microsoft didn't pay us to say that -- you'll notice how we included two Nintendo controllers. :-) And it looks beige to us, but we're happy to concede that it's white. There is a picture, so you can compare it to your Dulux colour chart if you like.
First up, it's the classic Atari 2600 joystick, featuring a simple stick mechanism for moving around and a red button for firing. It's not technically a gamepad, but it's so crucial to gaming history there's no way we couldn't mention it.
The original joystick on the Atari 5200 was a bit of a disaster, but this streamlined version was much easier to hold and use. Atari's stick brought the joys of the arcade into the home and would inspire many gamepads in the future.
The old-school joystick jockeys used this super stick to kill off incoming Space Invaders and gobble up white dots in Pac-Man. Atari's joystick revolutionised the home gaming scene and fully deserves to be in the top five.