They've been through a fascinating evolution, from the first prototypes until now. The first arcade game, Computer Space, used only buttons. The second, Magnavox's Odyssey, used a complicated 3-dial analogue 'paddle' controller.
We've come a long way: the Xbox 360 controller has no fewer than 15 digital buttons, six analogue controls, four lights, a keyboard module, headphone connector and cordless RF connectivity.
Between the extremes we've had all kinds of designs in our sweaty hands, and the trials of time have not been kind to them all. Some of them were awesome, some of them sucked, and some of them were simply weird.
And I've used just about all of them! First up: a review of the Atari 7800 Proline stick, and the Xbox 360 controller.
So, look forward to my new madness, please.