return to a homemade mystery

2023-12-10 20:00:09

“Last August, I lost a good childhood friend. (…) I contacted his parents who entrusted me with some of his affairs. Among them, an old floppy disk from high school with an old level on it. (…) I decided (…) to retype it. » Here is how Veddge, member of the specialized Doom World forum, presents his project in a final message dated March 3, 2023: MyHouse.wad. A “mod”, that is to say a modification by an amateur of a pre-existing game, here Doom II (1994), a pioneer of the shooter game that originally pitted the player against demonic creatures.

“Reproducing your house was a common practice in the 1990s, because Doom represented for many the first contact with the design of virtual worldsexplains Esselfortium, a composer known to the community. When you see a house made by someone, you shouldn’t expect anything incredible. » Many mods titled MyHouse.wad (“wad” designating the file extension compatible with Doom) have appeared over the years.

No reason to think this house is any different. However, it will quickly attract attention. Already, there is the logbook with which the game comes, and the strange scenario elements that it distills. Then there are the disappearing doors, the music that stutters, the geometry that behaves strangely with spaces larger inside than outside. “You then realize that this is much bigger than you thought. explains Not Jabba, a forum veteran who helped dissect this level.

Vedge says in his message that he hasn’t created a mod for over fifteen years. Yet, MyHouse.wad involves a particularly advanced technique. So who is he really?

The player passes through these familiar locations so often that the slightest change will immediately jump out at them. LÉA GIRARDOT / “THE WORLD”

Home survey

MyHouse.wad is in reality the fruit of a collective that wants to be stealthy. Kevansevans, a senior member, knows Veddge and has helped him fine-tune the behavior of certain creatures. “We hoped that the level would go unnoticedhe remembers. We would have loved to see it disappear into the limbo of the Internet before being unearthed years later. » Nevertheless, and unlike the others, Esselfortium, which was also in the know by providing music of its own, chose to immediately declare its collaboration: “When I’m proud of something I did, I want people to know it was me and I want to be able to talk about it! »

In the days that followed, the mod attracted experts from the community Doom. We share our findings and discuss the complex rules governing this disturbing home which sometimes turns into an airport, a nursery, a brutalist-style maze or a labyrinth plunged into darkness. Multiple sections draw openly from popular horror works, such as the novel The House of Leaves (Monsieur Toussaint Louverture, 2022 – this book released in 2000 in the United States also features a building larger inside than outside) which itself served as the main inspiration for other imaginations , more recent, like that of “backrooms”, also cited extensively in the mod.

Read also: “The Backrooms”, “SCP Foundation”: to scare people, they write their stories together

“I really liked the idea of ​​everyone who was secretly involved in creating the level pretending they had nothing to do with it, laughs Jimmy, who had fun streaming the game while pretending to discover it. Without saying a word about his participation in the soundtrack, the mischievous musician shared a Wiki page covering all the secrets that the community had unearthed in this elusive game.

It will take forum veterans about a week to solve the main mysteries of MyHouse.wad. We manage not to burn the house (almost obligatory accident when you start the game for the first time) and we organize the circumstances for a happy ending : a beach bathed in a gentle sunset.

For the most reluctant, a QR code hidden in a particularly secret corner leads to an image hosted online. This is an obituary of Steven “Veddge” Nelson printed in what looks like a local publication (actually a photomontage). The message is received five out of five by the community: Veddge does not exist. It’s a character, whose creator is probably hiding on the forum.

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The house sometimes changes into very different places. However, we often recognize a common architecture. Ultimately, home remains home. LÉA GIRARDOT / “THE WORLD”

Group obsession

A certain paranoia takes hold of some of the members, who suspect each other of being the mysterious author. The obsession is largely fueled by the fact that the account of the “character” Veddge was not created for the occasion: it has existed since 2004. And even if it was inactive for most of this period, we realizes that his daily account of the development of MyHouse.wad echoes the scenario of the game itself, in a disturbing mise en abyss.

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Many community figures are forced to publicly deny their involvement. The atmosphere is grueling, as some people are so obsessed with this question. Not Jabba in particular is determined to make the masks fall: “I consider myself a historian of the amateur scene Doom, he explains to World. Knowing the author would have allowed me to understand the mod on a much more personal level. »

And then one day, Not Jabba sends a message to the community. He explains that he was contacted by the person behind Vedge (which consistent testimonies confirmed in Monde), who asked him to calm things down. End of recess. “I blamed myself for it, even though I think the reasons why it happened are perfectly conceivable”he justifies himself today.

If you try to cheat by passing through walls, the player can quickly find themselves stuck in unusual and disturbing places.

Success, excesses

In May, the phenomenon goes beyond the niche of fans of Doom. Popular YouTubers take up the subject and garner millions of views. The noise even reaches the editor of The House of Leaves who, on May 19, expressed surprise on X about a sudden upsurge in book sales.

This new audience ends up discovering videos on TikTok at the end of May, in which we easily recognize the authentic house which served as a model for the game. Faced with its new popularity, the person occupying the premises confirms to their new audience that they know the author of mod.

As for the forum of early fans, this intrusion into private life is not acceptable at all. “Trying to identify an author by tracking their social networks has never happened at a level of Doom », Jimmy notes. At the beginning of December, the person behind the account finally decided to delete the videos.

Despite the excesses, lovers of old people Doom welcome that their ancient shooter, as well as its scene moddingdid, thanks to MyHouse.wad, an intrusion more than noticed outside their community. From there to convincing the creator of one of the strangest and most acclaimed games of the year to come out of the woodwork? Jimmy “do not rule out the hypothesis”. Esselfortium does not agree. Just like Kevansevans, whose opinion is the most decided: ” It will never happen. That was always the plan. »

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