Spoiler alert: If you plan to play the Doom 2 mod MyHouse.wad, stop reading right now and go dive down the rabbit hole that is this wholly standalone game. While I'll avoid major spoilers and puzzle answers, even minor spoilers will affect and potentially ruin the experience of this creation. So read on only if you have no intention of playing.
Describing MyHouse.wad (or just MyHouse for short) is difficult. The Doom 2 mod is so bizarre and surreal that experiencing it is the only way to do it justice. That said, I'll do my best to give you an idea of what it is and a general overview of the gameplay without revealing too many secrets.
As far as anybody knows, MyHouse was created by a Doomworld forum user who goes by the handle Veddge, whose real name might be Steven Nelson – or is that just the name of a character in MyHouse who may or may not be dead? Wait. It gets weirder.
He opened his account in 2004 and was active, posting occasional banal Doom-related commentary before disappearing in 2006. Veddge reappeared last year, discussing finishing a Doom 2 map that his recently deceased friend Thomas had worked on before he died.
"I haven't logged into the forums in over a decade, but a close childhood friend of mine passed away recently, and I decided to go through some of the Doom stuff we were making when we were kids. The hardest part was recovering the wads from my old 3.5" floppy disks! It took me a few hours, but I managed to recover some files from the late 90s when we were making maps ... apparently, my friend was making a "my house" map around 1999. In his honor, I've been cleaning up his map for release and adding some ZDoom/UDMF features for the sake of convenience."
He claims that he rediscovered the .wad file (mod file extension) on an old floppy disc from around 1999 and that the map was modeled after his friend's house. He wanted to clean it up and add newer features since modding has changed so much since then.
For several months, Veddge continued posting screenshots and progress reports. However, several cryptic entries peppered throughout his discourse show that not all was right with the mod. Veddge starts having trouble sleeping and says the map has quite literally taken on a life of its own.
"I've been having trouble sleeping lately. For most of my life, I could just put my head on my pillow and fall asleep, but lately, I find myself lying in bed staring into the darkness," he said in a November 2022 post, and adding in the MyHouse readme, "I tried to delete this map, but it continues to change and evolve without any input from me."
The posts continued until he seemingly shared the finished mod on March 2, 2023, and then disappeared, not having been heard from since. However, the community surrounding the mod created an entire 58-page thread as players unraveled the rabbit hole of one of the most bizarre and creepy Doom 2 levels ever made.
If you kill the Bad Doggie, the good doggie dies. Is there another way?
MyHouse is described as having 10 minutes of playable content, but whoever made that assertion appears not to have played the game fully. Undoubtedly, solving the puzzles within the house and getting all three endings takes much longer than that on the first playthrough.
At first, the house featured in the mod is a fairly normal replica of a late 90s or early 2000s two-story home, but therein lies the first thing that set people off about the mod. Doom 2 maps cannot have stacked levels. An upstairs and downstairs would normally require two separate maps connected by a stairway.
However, MyHouse appears to be one map – an impossibility. So players who know how Doom maps work immediately felt uneasy about it. It is just one of the many Doom laws that the mod breaks to create a liminal space that puts the player on edge. There's just something not right about it – doors that open into a room that overlaps another room, objects that appear and disappear depending on the position and direction the player faces, and other "unnatural" aspects that just should not be able to happen contribute to the eerie feeling that something is not right.
Progressing through the house is relatively straightforward – kill baddies, collect objects and keys until you can unlock the front gate, and escape. Upon exiting the level, players find themselves in Doom 2's second mission, "Underhalls," the MyHouse mini-game apparently over. After completing Underhalls, players move to the next level – The Gauntlet – right?
Wrong. The mod thrusts players back into the house like a digital version of Groundhog's Day. This time around, things are even stranger than they were previously. However, it becomes apparent that the entire reason for returning is that the player failed to solve all the puzzles. You can repeatedly exit the house and replay the Underhalls level, but until you find all the clues and pieces to get to the end, you're stuck in an endless loop of fighting demons and exploring the house.
If this sounds drab and repetitive, it's not – or at least it doesn't have to be. Once players realize there is much more to the house than there appears to be, they begin to understand that the exit is not the way out. It's just a red herring to keep them running in circles.
However, if some key components required to get through MyHouse are hidden, how could Veddge expect anybody to complete it? Well, there is the 58-page discussion on the Doomworld forum where players shared their knowledge as they discovered secrets, for one. Although, players who want clues without solutions should read the "Journal" accompanying the mod file in its Google Drive folder.
Not only does the journal contain veiled solutions of specific portions of the game revealed in the writer's dreams, but it's how Veddge intended players to work through the mod. It's also far more immersive since it relates information that makes several sequences and portions of the MyHouse experience make sense. There are also images that provide clues to progress. However, this journal file is hidden in the Google Drive folder, so you must figure out how to unlock it. Good luck.
To close, I would like to present Veddge's warning to players. In the document myhouse.txt (its readme) is the following disclaimer:
DO NOT COPY AND REDISTRIBUTE THE MATERIAL IN ANY MEDIUM OR FORMAT!
I tried to delete this map, but it continues to change and evolve without any input from me. What began as a tribute to a lost friend has consumed my entire life. As this map grew beyond what I created, I suffered paranoia and insomnia. It consumed me. Don't let it consume you as well.
Delete it. Do not credit me. Do not try and contact me. Do not attempt to use the material for commercial purposes. Do not remix, transform, or build upon the material. Above all, do not distribute this file, modified
or otherwise. I tried to keep it from the internet, but it found its way online. It's still changing. It wants you to feel sad. Alone. Desperate.
Don't let it win. Don't play it.
If you play it, remember that MyHouse is like an onion. It has many layers, each revealing more lore while raising questions about the next layer. Be persistent, and you will be rewarded. For those more interested in seeing the game in action and learning all the solutions, Bobby Prince (aka Power Pak) created an in-depth walkthrough/exposé that is worth the hour forty-five-minute runtime (above).