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7 people found the following review helpful:
Raw, intense, and no longer available, March 25, 2021
My review of 9/21: My Story must start with an explanation of how I came to play it, especially since readers of the review will most likely not be able to play it for themselves. I was doing an 'IFDB Spelunking' expedition, where I let the IFDB generate a random list of ten games and then try to play and review them all. One of the games on my list, this one, didn't seem to be available on the internet any longer. Instead of giving up, however, I decided to track down and contact the author, Kronosaurus.
Kronosaurus was very helpful, explaining to me that 9/21: My Story was a very intense and personal game they made when they were around 14 years old. Kronosaurus took it offline a few years later because they thought it was in certain ways immature and not something they wanted out there attached to their name. However, Kronosaurus was also kind enough to send me a copy for my personal perusal, allowing me to write a review of it if it didn't contain any quotes or screenshots. And so that's why I'm able to write this even though you will be unable to find a working download link on this page.
Clearly, my playing experience was heavily coloured by all of this. Had I encountered 9/21: My Story without any context, I would probably have spent a lot more time being annoyed at spelling errors or wondering at the author's artistic intentions. But I hope that even then I would have been open enough to the experience to appreciate this game for what it is: a raw, intense story about how personality and creativity can be killed off at school; how it hurts when you are forced into a mould you don't fit and when your most cherished artistic designs are discarded as worthless trash. The protagonist of our story gets through the day at school by designing maps for a computer game. Their thoughts about this are actually quite detailed and subtle. But they face an abusive teacher who, through contempt, almost succeeds in erasing this part of their life. Almost. For the game -- which even includes an almost-suicide -- ends on a hopeful note.
I found 9/21: My Story engaging and moving. I can also understand the author's desire to keep some distance from it; it is perhaps too personal, too much a document of a particular moment in one's life, and does one want to keep this around for every random person on the internet to give a star rating to? It's not art that rises to the level of objectivity. But the lack of an 'objective perspective' (whatever that may be) is surely part of both the intense pain and the unbelievable glory of being 14.
Not being 14 any more, I rejoice and despair.