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Doom modding and assuming everything on the internet is probably fake

I was watching a YouTube thing about a mod for the original Doom (well, technically, Doom 2) called MyHouse.wad and the whole thing was a weird experience.

I’m not much of a gamer, but I played a ton of Doom and Doom 2 back when they came out. I think the only mod I ever played was when I found a .wad file that made it so you were fighting the xenomorphs from Aliens (being a twenty-year-old white dude in the early 90s, I also loved Aliens). That was neat but other than a few months’ fascination with Half-Life, I fell away from the gaming scene; I had no idea that Doom modding was even still a going concern, much less so active a scene.

This mod apparently showed up on some forum a few months ago without much fanfare. It appears fairly innocuous at first. If the reviews are to be believed, however, it gets increasingly weird and creepy, expanding far beyond the scope of the initial map, and far beyond the standard physics and gameplay of Doom itself.

The strange part for me was that as I watching the YouTube about it, my initial assumption was that it was fake. I figured the whole thing was a hoax, that there was no such mod and that it was yet another one of these made-up internet things like SCP, or the Backrooms, or any of the other sprawling collaborative fictions that are constantly mutating and forking and recombining and spreading around the web.

I spent a fair amount of time searching and reading up on it, and while I have not actually downloaded and tried playing the mod myself, it does, in fact, seem to be a real thing.

The weird thing is, I still don’t entirely believe it. I feel like years of being on the internet have gotten me into the habit of not trusting anything I see online, especially stuff like this that mostly appears in comment threads, discussion forums, and YouTube explainers and reviews.

I think I mostly assume that this stuff is either a carefully crafted hoax, a misunderstanding-laden game of Telephone, or an outright scam. Maybe a bunch of the people engaged with and reacting to it are for real—not realizing that the original material is fake—but the core is bogus and therefore the entire structure is suspect.

As I watched this video, I found myself thinking “Who would go to this much trouble to make all of this up, produce all this video and backstory?” The answer, of course, is that plenty of people would.

All of which is beside the point, since this video was real and it was about a real thing. And sure—“A lot of stuff on the internet is fake and one would do well to default to skepticism” hardly seems like a novel take these days. Nonetheless, I think I had not quite fully realized the degree to which I had internalized that sense of the world around me.

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