Sony is no stranger to idiosyncratic hardware design. Nintendo and Sega put analog sticks on their controllers in the '90s? Sony adds on an extra stick and redefines console controllers. Touch screens are de rigueur? Sony slaps a touch surface on the front and back of PS Vita. The PlayStation 4 is a sleek piece of modern consumer tech design, but even it's got its quirks.
Case in point: the Dualshock 4 light bar. Every PS4 controller looks like KITT from Knight Rider, with a giant oblate spheroid of light pulsing on the front. Not just good for running down the battery, the light bar actually performs some unusual functions in a variety of games. Below the break is a taster's choice selection of memorable light bar uses from the PlayStation 4's first year of games. After browsing that, take our poll and discuss the light bar's career in the comments.
Tomb Raider Definitive Edition: Whenever Lara picks up a torch, your controller turns into a real-life guiding light, flickering yellow and red to mimic the in-game flame. Atmospheric when you're playing in the dark, and useful for an impromptu round of campfire stories.
Destiny: Bungie's shooter offers a number of colors to indicate states, including the ever-popular red for low health, white to match Ghost's flashlight, and yellow if your super attack is fully charged. That last one's perfect for backseat players who love to tell people what they already know.
Rating: 50 percent charged
Alien Isolation: Creative Assembly puts the shock into DualShock with arguably the best light bar feature to date. The controller mirrors the in-game motion tracker, pulsing white light against green in time with the device to indicate someone is nearby, or... something. Throw in the creepy speaker noises and you've just added jeebies to go with those heebies.
Rating: Hold us...
Grand Theft Auto 5: In addition to changing color based on which character you're playing, the light bar flashes red and blue whenever the cops are on your tail. You know, just in case there was any confusion.
Rating: It's a fair cop
Infamous Second Son: A real karma chameleon. The strength of the hue emitted indicates your karma level; a nice strong red and you're clearly a bit of a bastard. On the more gimmicky side, when you hold your DualShock vertically to spray paint, the light bar matches the color of the graffiti.
Rating: First cousin, twice removed
Transistor: The light bar pulses the same blue as the game's talking weapon, flashing in sync with the big sword's speech. The idea, presumably, is to make you feel like you're holding the Transistor, minus having to drag around something twice your size.
Rating: Formula for success
Honorable mentions: Fez (color changes to match in-game time of day), Peggle 2 (a rainbow fireworks show when you beat a level), Thief (shines a bright white when you're out in the open), Hohokum (matches the ever-changing color of the Long Mover), Outlast (goes green when night vision is activated)
Lifetime achievement award: PS4 1.70 firmware (set light bar brightness to dim, thank the battery gods)