Ever since Smackdown on Playstation 1, THQ's WWE Games division has been a major part of my life. A very big part of my life, in fact.
Everything from the PS1 series, to Smackdown vs Raw series, to WWE '13, and all the other games in between, I've collected, loved, enjoyed and each game... even the less than stellar installments or little missteps, held a special place in my heart and on my shelves.
I have collected wrestling games since I was a very young teen, tuning in the the Attitude era. And THQ, as a publisher has remained the single largest part of wrestling game history that will never be topped, duplicated, or outdone in quantity or quality.
Everything from the SDvR series, to titles like Day of Reckoning, even the fan favorites like Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy on N64, THQ has ALWAYS been there, as the publisher, at least. They always had a hand in the production, the direction, and the outcome. People can give as much credit to studios and dev like Yukes, and Aki, and others, all they like, but it can NEVER be forgotten that THQ, for decades, was the molding hand, the guidance, and the overseer of the best of them and the worst of them.
THQ and Wrestling Games have always been there for me. Even when the wrestling product was complete shit, even when I hated what was going on in wrestling and found solace to play the video games the way I wanted to book and play the WWE, it was still there for me. Even when I wanted to quit watching wrestling, even when I thought that the product was not even worth watching, the Video Games were always there for me for the years of my life, and I never quit on those games.
Create-A-Superstar, to foster my creative side. All of the additions therein, that always defined years of my life in shaping concepts, ideas of wrestlers, factions, even entire fictional companies that carried over into my decade long career on a prominent e-fed and the owner of another, utilized so many of THQ's titles as the backbone for my creativity and ideals.
The gameplay styles, that were always evolving steadily, with it's ups and it's down over the years, I was there with them over the years. Adapting to every new change, applauding every new comeback and refinement of a great idea.
Even when THQ strayed away from the WWE licence, and expermeneted with the N64 WCW games, WCW/nWo Revenge, they still managed to deliver a great product.
And then there's the Smackdown vs Raw series, and the WWE '12, and '13 series, which I still believe were the pinnacle and greatest point in the design of these games, all of THQ's tireless production, work, and guidence I felt payed off with these titles I always immensely enjoyed, even when I had to defend their flaws from the detractors and remind people that the games they produced were always at least inherently better than they were flawed even in lackluster titles like SvR 2008, I always played the hell out of them. Completed them, and stuck with them, and thankfully, still own every single one of them, and even know go back and enjoy for what they were.
Today, it can be argued that THQ's greatest and most well known accomplishments were the many, many, MANY wrestling games, most of which are still quality as much as they are even nostalgic side-pieces to most of WWE's own history, which they produced that defined their biggest successes as a company.
It is with great sadness, and deep love that I say goodbye to THQ, and the well over a decade of memories and enjoyable times that they always gave me. I sincerly grieve for the loss of the games they've provided as this long, long chapter in my life as a Wrestling Video Game Collector, who still owns every game they've ever produced, comes to a close.
R.I.P THQ's WWE Games division. 2000 - 2012.
WWF Smackdown (Playstation 1) (2000) - WWE '13 (Xbox360, PS3, and Wii) (2012)
WWE '14 may never happen, but at least WWE '13 went out on a high note with it's throwback to my favorite era of Wrestling. Thanks for the memories, and for coming back full circle, guys.