If you’ve ever read or paged through HOUSE OF LEAVES, you’ll have an idea of what to expect from Myhouse.wad. Written by Mark Z. Danielewski and published in 2000, HOUSE OF LEAVES is about a home that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Much bigger. A mysterious door leads into a black room that grows larger and larger, until the characters have reason to enter the room. Image: pitch blackness, rooms as large as caverns, utter silence broken by the sound of something hunting you. That premise is scary enough, but the book’s formatting—sometimes displaying only a few words on a page, sometimes strange patterns, the word “house” printed in blue—makes the reading experience unsettling, dread increasing with every page.
Myhouse.wad is like that, but a mod for Doom II instead of a bizarrely-formatted book. It was supposedly in development for over 10 years. It’ll take you around 10 minutes to finish, or it could take you hours. The house on the title screen appears ordinary. That’s because it is ordinary; it’s what lurks beneath it that should give you pause.
The core terror at the heart of HOUSE OF LEAVES, and of Myhouse.wad, is the exploration of liminal spaces, defined as places where you transition between where you are and where you’re going. Think of silent, empty hotel corridors stretching endlessly between rows of closed doors, airport terminals, the wide hallways of malls after hours, each storefront dark and locked. Instead of blazing through Myhouse.wad, poke around. You’ll find a way to restart the level, but there’s something off with the mod’s soundtrack, “Running From Evil,” the track that plays over Doom II’s first map. It’s discordant. The notes are wrong.
Keep exploring. Look for things out of place. Find the basement. Listen for the thing stalking you. Find yourself outside a gas station, and hurry inside; that something is still after you.
Myhouse.wad must be experienced. It’s the most experimental map to come out of the thriving Doom map-making community in ages, and it will scare and disturb you even more than some of 2023’s newest triple-A horror games.