So often in history it has fallen to the 3D fighting game to establish the appeal and capability of a console in its formative days. Tekken communicated the pace, pluck and glowering J-cool of Sony's PlayStation; Virtua Fighter bespoke the sometimes finicky technical prowess of Sega's Saturn; Dead or Alive 2 the weight and wobble of the Xbox; while Soul Calibur, in its jaw-dropping polish and elegance, secured Dreamcast's legacy even before SEGA had a chance to secure its demise.
Why should a relatively niche genre so often be responsible for defining hardware in its earliest days? In part it's visual: the language of one-on-one combat is universal, allowing the viewer to focus on the showboating flamboyance of the characters, without being distracted by having to interpret what's going on. Then, in the speed of battles, the split-second combo windows that allow players to link together chains of rock paper suckerpunch, the fighting game reveals how good a console is at speed maths, in parsing the causes and effects that fire any videogame.
And they can do all of this at the start of a console's life-cycle because the fighting game's straightforward structure - pitting one character against another in a linear string of discrete battles - provides tight scope and focus, yielding the most visually impressive results in the shortest space of time. 3D fighters allow a skilled developer to say: this is what this machine is capable of. They are a shorthand account of competence.