Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos
From Dischan Media, creators of the highly acclaimed Juniper's Knot, comes Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos. Dysfunctional Systems is a visual novel series featuring Winter Harrison, a student mediator from a utopian world. Learning to Manage Chaos is the first entry in the series. What is a mediator?
User reviews: Very Positive (616 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 4, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"A short visual novel and the first of a planned episodic series. Beautiful art and an interesting story <3"

Reviews

“Learning to Manage Chaos is driven by an engaging story and lively dialogue.”
4/5 – Gamezebo

“Extraordinary story, writing, art, characters, and music. What more could you ask for?”
8.5/10 – Game Podunk

About This Game

From Dischan Media, creators of the highly acclaimed Juniper's Knot, comes Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos.

Dysfunctional Systems is a visual novel series featuring Winter Harrison, a student mediator from a utopian world. Learning to Manage Chaos is the first entry in the series.

What is a mediator? A mediator is someone who travels to chaotic worlds, attempting to resolve the issues plaguing them. The first entry in the series follows Winter's second mediation, where she shadows the experienced and aloof mediator: Cyrus Addington.

Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos features two distinct endings, unlockable bonus art, an animated opening video, and a jukebox of in-game music.

What is a visual novel?


A visual novel is a mix of choose your own adventure books, comics and manga, music, and animation. Play through the story and make choices for the main character to change the outcome of the episode and the events of future episodes!

Soundtrack Included


All Steam purchases of Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos include the official soundtrack absolutely free! Enjoy a total of 18 tracks, including a full rendition of the Dysfunctional Systems opening theme, in both MP3 and FLAC. The album is included with the game files. To access, right click the "Dysfunctional Systems" entry in your library, click "properties", then go to the "local files" tab, and click the "browse local files" button.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 or higher
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz Dual-Core
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated Graphics Card
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.6
    • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X 10.8 or higher
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz+ Dual-Core
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated Graphics Card
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: "ia32-libs" package required for 64-bit Linux users
    Recommended:
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz Dual-Core
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated Graphics Card
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: "ia32-libs" package required for 64-bit Linux users
Helpful customer reviews
107 of 139 people (77%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
EXTREMELY SHORT
NOT ENOUGH CHOICES
ME3-ISH ENDING
PRETTY MUCH A TEASER FOR PART 2 AND 3

BUT
DAT ART
DAT MUSIC
DAT STORY
DAT ATMOSPHERE
OH GOD WHY ISN'T THERE MORE.
PLS I NEED IT.
SEQUELS NOW.
THIS IS WHY I HATE PLAYING EPISODIC GAMES.


BUY WHEN CHEAP.
VERY GOOD, BUT FIVE BUCKS STILL KINDA PRICY.
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26 of 31 people (84%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 14
tl;dr: 6/10 - Pretty good but really short.

Full review (spoilers are real spoilers):

As a rather critical visual novel fan, I can't say I'm easily pleased. A visual novel being sold on Steam does raise some eyebrows, but nonetheless I decided to give it a go, and I was pleasantly surprised after reading the disappointing World End Economica a while back.

Although Dysfunctional Systems is an original English language (OEL) visual novel, which is generally a good indicator of poor quality, my past experience with another OEL VN (Katawa Shoujo) was actually rather good, so I wasn't deterred from the beginning. Overall, the visual novel was quite good, all things considered, but we can take a bit of a deeper look into things.

First thing's first: the writing. I can't vouch for the story being fresh and original, but it was well executed regardless. The characters' personalities were generally consistent and the story developed in a logical order. However, the visual novel was painstakingly short. I felt like I was just thrown into the middle of things, and even though the story wasn't too complex to figure out what was going on, a longer introduction would've been welcomed with open arms. There's also the issue of how easy it is to get to the bad end. After several playthroughs of making and recording different decisions, in desperate search of the good end, I was sorely disappointed to find that there was none. As it stands, the story is good, but much too short for my liking, and a lot more content is due. The ratio of number of choices to length of story was horribly skewed in the wrong direction, but I can respect the amount of tedious coding it would've taken to link everything together the way it was done.

Technically, the English was rather good. It was by no means perfect, but it made good use of stylistic devices and all of the other things English professors like to rant on about for an easy-to-read experience. There were a few mistakes that the more pedantic of us (such as myself) may wince at, and the word choice was often pretentious, to say the least, but otherwise, Dysfunctional Systems was well written. If anything, it was better than the disgrace World End Economica was, which I can only imagine was a machine translation done by an IBM 5200.

On to the art and sound - long story short, they were also quite good. While the drawing didn't exactly fit the conventional visual novel clique, there was something about the brushed watercolour style art that appealed to me. All the ren'py animations (yeah, I actually bothered to look through the game files to confirm it was a ren'py game) were used well and surprisingly weren't skimped on - this kind of production quality I can appreciate. I'm not much of an audiophile, but I can also vouch for the soundtrack being great on its own. In the game, it can be a bit overpowering at times, but the volume controls presumably exist solely for that purpose. If only they had some voice acting to go with it - in Japanese, of course, since I'm a filthy weeaboo and English sucks - but alas, one can only dream.

It might seem like I'm bashing the game pretty harshly here - and that's probably true - but I actually did enjoy the game. Although it was extremely short (short enough for me to get 100% completion after only 3 hours), and there were the other issues I'd mentioned previously, it was an interesting story and fun to read. Even though I'm bringing it up again - the sheer lack of content was detrimental to the score I gave - we mustn't forget to interpret the ten point scale correctly. 5/10 is perfectly average, and not garbage by any means. Going from there, 6/10 isn't a bad score, despite what IGN and whatnot want you to believe - but that's a story for another time. I know episodes 2 and 3 of this series are due to come soon, though, so hopefully they can make up for where this episode fell short and salvage the trilogy as a whole.
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15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 5
I really can't put into words how good I feel about this game. But I'm gonna try.

Learning to Manage Chaos is Part 1 of the Dysfunctional Systems visual novel series. It follows the story of Winter Harrison, a student at some kind of... orginization? It's never too clear. Regardless, you follow the story of Winter and help to make choices that lead to multiple endings, each with varying differences.

The story is amazing. It takes place during a futuristic, post-apocalypse setting, where technology to travel between planets in an instant is available. The characters are all unique and very engaging, making you take sides very often in the story. (Go, Winter!~) For someone like me who likes to escape reality (assignments most of all) it is amazing. It constantly keeps you on your toes, and for the amount of value the story offers, the price is soooo worth it.

The artwork is goregeous. An almost rustic, stylized and crisp style brings alive, yet powerful character designs and image stills for the story events. If you're someone like me who loves a good browse through artwork, the images are available after a certain point.

Finally, the music. What's better than a soundtrack that caresses your ears like a silk glove on your bare bre- arms. I mean arms. What can be better than that? If said soundtrack comes with the game once you purchase it. Done and done. :3

In short, this game is a must-have for your steam library this Chirstmas, with a soundtrack to keep your ears warm by the fire.

~Gen~
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
Dischan makes excellent VNs, though I sometimes think they'd be better off just making anime. If you don't know what a Visual Novel is then Google "Juniper's Knot", which is another game by Dischan that has similar presentation and pacing to this one. (It's free on their site.) That will let you know what to expect here.
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12 of 15 people (80%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 1
Dysfunctional Systems is a visual novel that attempts to portray the idea of a utopian society using their advanced magic dimension-tripping technology and superior history and intellect to help guide other planets in subtle ways -- managing their "chaos". However, Episode 1 presents itself as more of a teaser than an actual iteration in a series due to its short length (two hours is more than enough time to rinse this out), lack of choices and minimal explanation of who or what is really happening in the utopian society.

Given that the start of the game (and store page) makes a point to mention how "Your choices affect the story" theres a distinct lack of any choices to be made. Which is doubly odd as the game takes care to give you a codex with which to keep you up to speed with the world and current trends or plot devices. This may be a personal qualm but I expected it to come in to some use when it came to "managing the chaos" of the world, such as reading it granting an insight into how to take action, but instead the sole decision you get to make in this title has but four resolutions resulting in two endings that you make through a series of choices that are mostly red herrings. This makes the codex feel rather unwarranted as everyone always explains themselves in enough detail such that reading it is a waste of effort.

The writing itself feels quite contrived: characters and, in this episode, countries presented are almost painting-by-numbers in their given role. I mean, who hasnt heard the one about the gruff, old mentor with a plucky, slightly rebellious voice-of-reason apprentice. Or the one about the two large nations stuck in a [cold] war over a third, smaller independence.

That being said, credit where credit is due, the game does look lovely. The UI is clean and distinct, backgrounds are nicely detailed and the character portraits display many emotions in a variety of poses. Most of all it feels consistent -- portraits dont just sit on top of the background but instead fit in, general colours and tone do well to make this.

I can only really hope that future episodes really expand on what I would only really call an extended teaser here.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 9
Seen from its overall construction, Dysfunctional Systems wants to be respected and so it well earn my respect. Storywise, it can be seen that its creator spends much time crafting the world setting, it's interesting and mildly engaging me to find out more detail on world background. Also the art and music add to the atmosphere which shows that this game is made by so much care.

For a visual novel that currently planning for episodic release, I saw this game as a proof of concept of the direction they want to take for their next installment. If they don't do anything wrong and stray from this direction, consider me sold for the next episodes.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 28
Dysfunctional Systems is a short visual novel about the organization that travels to other "systems" or worlds in order to solve the chaos that is brewing there. Art, music, story, all the elements are superb. Parts 2 and 3 should be coming sooner or later since their Kickstarter was succesfull so here's to more of Dysfunctional Systems!
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 8
Story:8/10
Soundtrack:10/10
Characters:8/9
Art:10/10
Effects:9/10

All in all it is a very interesting visual novel with an awesome soundtrack and likeable characters.

The first game Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos acts like an entrance to a much bigger world, and as
develpopers stated there will be sequels coming soon.

This particular VN sucks you in with interesting story, good
soundtrack and great art style but leaves you wanting more.

The one and the only downside in my opinion is the length of the game although as stated before there will be sequels,
the novel is quite short and most people finish it 2.5-3.0 h aprox.

This visual novel is well worth your money since it offers enjoyable story and OST.
Sequels are however going to be a must have if you want to enjoy it fully.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
I like this game so much I've bought it on all it's available platforms. Maybe it's the wonderful story and art that creates the immersive world. Maybe it's the concept of being a mediator between multiple universes. It's writing is mostly good, dodgy in some places, and I've heard from others that the overall pacing could be better, but none of those things diminished the experience I had playing this game. If it has any flaws, it's that it's so short.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 29
Dysfunctional Systems follows a fourteen-year-old mediator-in-training named Winter. A mediator's job is to travel to other planets and to balance the scale of order and chaos by whatever means necessary. Winter is shadowing a mediator, Cyrus, known for being cold and willing to kill in the blink of an eye. Assigned to the planet of Sule, their mission is to balance the scale.

The game's art, from the start, is beautiful (I could stare at the menu for a long time). The characters are all well drawn and expressive. The story is written well and the characters' personalities really seal the deal and just pull you in. You can tell how Cyrus is from the art and his lines; he's cold, but also has a side that you don't hear being talked about. Winter is very expressive and idealistic, and it is easily conveyed to the reader. She's not just some random protag-kun, but she has her own personality, and it shows. The music fits perfectly with the setting, and the setting further immerses you and you can quickly get a good idea as to how everything is. The detail in your character's actions and movements has plenty of detail; it gives you enough to where you can picture exactly what's happening.

By the end, I was dying for more. Sadly, I finished it in around three hours, give or take a few minutes depending on your choice. There is one choice you can make, but from my experience through the second playthrough, it changes the story line in many ways. Reading after the choice was completely different between option A and option B. It wasn't worlds-apart different, but you could definitely see the changes; I found this highly fascinating.

I'm not a major reviewer, so I'd say the only con I could find was it's three-hour playtime, but I'd also say it's a pro because it readies you for more episodes and leaves you wanting more. This game was right up my alley, and I'm utterly excited for the rest of the episodes.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
8.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 13
Very interesting premise, and a nice change from the usual dating sim themes seen in most visual novels. This is fairly short, as it's essentially a prologue to the rest of the series which is currently in production. The soundtrack is excellent.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
If you're not into reading txt than this "game" (more like a visual novel) is probably not for you...
There's only 1-2 points in the plot where you actually get to make decisions, depending on WHICH decision you make...

As for me (being a subbed anime freak) I absolutely loved every minute of it!
Visually there's not much going on but personally I really love the art style mixed with the storyline and cannot wait for episode two! Which by the way will have more animation and playable characters according to Dischan's kickstarter page :D
Dischan plans to make at least 3 episodes (plus free content before episode 2 is released) of Dysfunctional Systems, but I sure hope that it grows in popularity and they decide to continue the project.

If you ARE looking for some great storyline mixed with sexy visuals then pay the $5 and get Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos (episode 1). It's totally worth it xD

OH! and BTW the OST is GREAT!!! I would pay the $5 for the soundtrack ONLY <3
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 5
I rarely do expect something from this kind of games, but this one blew me away.
Apart from dialogues being written really well, the plot is thick with conflicts of global scale which are intensely contrasted by student-teacher routine. The themes spoken of are harsh and soberingly serious, just not what one would expect from a visual novel game. The whole concept of mediator institution promises even more goodness in the next episodes, which I will now look forward too.
The soundtrack is great and does help the narrative rather effectively.

I am pleasantly surprised and impressed by this one.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 6
Not sure what to say. It's an interesting 'read', but not exciting and found that there is only one real choice (the others only really help you obtain the achievements)
Maybe episode 2 will be of more interest.
6/10
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
The art was amazing, the music was amazing, the plot was amazing - I thoroughly enjoyed every single aspect of this game. The developers took extra care to create an immersive setting with many overarching themes that allow the reader's mind to wander, even going a step further - making the reader question him/herself and what he or she would have done in the same situation. My only complaint is that it was extremely short, but VERY worth the five dollars that it costs.

The decisions you make really do matter - episode two will most likely be very different depending on what choices you made in the game.

All in all, I strongly recommend this game, if not for the plot then for the AMAZING soundtrack.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 13
This was different. I cruised thru it and took the easy perfect game.

Not my thing, but does what it intended to do.
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
I finsished this work of art and now im just sitting here......
waiting.......
for episode 2.......
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6 of 10 people (60%) found this review helpful
799.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
Nice.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
+Beautiful artwork
+Lovely soundtrack

-Only one real decision
-Only two endings
-Awkward dialogue

When I first started playing this game, I was very excited. I thought that it would be a very promising VN. The artwork was beautiful and the soundtrack was great. In fact, it has some of the best music for a VN (in my opinion).

Unfortunately, those were the only good parts. The entire game only has one major decision. They don't even give you the illusion of autonomy by giving you useless choices that lead to the same path. For example, the game could have asked you whether you wanted to drink the beer or not, a pretty arbitrary choice. Instead, pretty much every choice is made for you. In addition, I didn't find the story to be very moving and the dialogue just seemed off. It's all just worded in a way that doesn't sound natural. To add insult to injury, there's only two endings, despite all of the branches in the one major decision.

If you want a good VN, look elsewhere. Don't waste your cash to buy a few hours of poorly worded dialogue.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 14
Good game. It is like reading a book with good music and cute characters.
The track "Seize The Day" is actually reason enough to buy this game.
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