No one celebrates the true stars of the gaming world – the buttons that instruct our virtual selves and guide them to victory. They shall go ignored NO LONGER.
5 – The Gun-Happy Z-Trigger, N64
The Z-Trigger was wonderful because it felt like firing a gun, thanks to the pistol grip of the N64 controller's central prong. On a console that make first-person shooters accessible to the non-PC market, the marriage of this with top-draw murder simulator Goldeneye 007 was weapons-grade genius.
No longer are you pressing a useless, measly face button to unleash death – you're literally pulling a trigger, and blocky, weird-looking Russians are getting minced with an AK47 because of it. Visceral.
4 - The Big Comforting Xbox Button, Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 (and the PS3) heralded the arrival of an intimidating new world where consoles weren't content with just playing games any more, and instead wanted to take over your entire media consumption like some kind of miniature plastic Rupert Murdoch.
Which is where the Big Xbox Button comes in handy – glowing reassuringly in a the way that the DON'T PANIC written on the front of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy must do, it makes everything better if you're confused and takes you back to the relative security of the Xbox control panel. Plus, if you get really worried, you can just hold it down and turn off the console, making all the bad things go away. It's a proper comfort blanket of a button, and we love it.
3 – The Fighty Shoulder Buttons, SNES
SNES was better than Mega Drive, because you could play Street Fighter 2 on it thanks to those shoulder buttons1 – a radical shift from the two buttons of the NES. Unassumingly titled L and R, these buttons were the keys to a kingdom of international violence.
With them, you had access to Ken's Flaming Dragon Punch. You unlocked Blanka's highest level of electric fury. You could spit Yoga Flame halfway across the arena, or upset your opponents (in one glorious case, to the point of prepubescent tears) with E. Honda's Hundred Hand Punch.
2 – The Holy Quicksave Key (most commonly F5), PC
This keyboard is filthy and entirely not our keyboard, our keyboards are pristine white, slightly glowing, and smell of fresh mint. Repeat, this is totally not our keyboard. Not at all
Of all these buttons, we want the Quicksave Key in real life. We want an F5 key embedded in our palm (like the trigger on Spider-Man's web slingers, in the cartoon) that we can spam whenever we're about to do something dangerous like cross a road, eat a slightly dubious chicken sandwich, or admit that we've forgotten our girlfriend's birthday for the third year running – and then, if it all goes to shit, we can load our state back before it all happened.
Although knowing us we'd probably save it half a second before some elf arrives and stabs us, removing our last bit of health, and spend the rest of eternity trying to manoeuvre out the way rather than going all the way back to the start.
1 – The Massive Fuck-Off A Button, Gamecube
This button doesn't fuck around. On an otherwise forgettable controller, the massive green A button sticks out and stays lodged in our consciousness despite the console being too old to be interesting, but not old enough to be engagingly retro. Nintendo know you're going to be pushing that button A LOT, so why not make it as big as possible?
Sure, we've never actually missed a button with our thumb, but we don't want to run that risk. With the Gamecube, we won't. Short of putting Simon Cowell's gurning face on it, there's little they could do to make this button easier to hit.
1 We're fully aware that Sega later released a six-button controller for the Mega Drive just for Street Fighter use, which seems more like an admission of failure than anything else