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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?
Release Date: Apr 4, 2013
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Dysfunctional Systems Kickstarter Funded!

March 18th, 2014

Dysfunctional Systems has been successfully funded on Kickstarter! Thank you all very much for your support!

We are now trying for our stretch goals.

It’s a very exciting time for all of us here, and we’re very appreciative for the opportunity to continue Dysfunctional Systems.

Cheers everyone!

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“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 the 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.

PC System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • 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

Mac System Requirements

    • OS: OS X 10.6
    • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
    • 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

Linux System Requirements

    • 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
    • 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
17 of 23 people (74%) found this review helpful
436 products in account
17 reviews
3.3 hrs on record
Man oh man, that just might be the best 1 dollar purchase that i have ever made. This Visual Novel just made it on my top favorite list, tied up with my pavlove: Corpse Party. This just might be the most political, phylosofic, and sweetest experience that i had this week. After telling you that you should totally buy this game and all the episodes as they come by, let's get to the review:

Graphics and General Design: Pretty beautiful to look at. Everything's detailed and the drawing is just too good to look at. All the scenes are perfectly shown and make you feel completely immersed on the story. Seriously, this is indie and we're talking about some high quality visuals here. Take Dangan Ronpa for instance, it has a visual that assembles a lot of it (When you aren't on the 3D parts, obviously enough). All characters looks charismatic enough to make me instant fall in love with then, and getting a good look at the extras, i can tell that they really put an effort to make the best presentation possible in this first episode.

Gameplay: It's a Visual Novel, you will read and read A LOT. But that's okay, because that's what this genre is. I like medias that can make me read something that don't hurt my eyes so much like a book and has some kind of interaction of the player. The interaciton on the first episode consists of opening your codex (I'm serious) and choosing. That's the big card in the game. I loved every pathway that i did (You can see that i have already unlocked every achievement for this game) and i have two profiles for the next episodes: The one that i called "good choises" and the one "♥♥♥♥ choises". As i do with multiple endings/pathways games (Take The Walking Dead for instance). Like every other good game that follow this pattern, the game makes choosing hard and, even if you think your choise was right, you will think twice and realize it just wasn't. It was "a little ♥♥♥♥ier" than the other ones (Again, like the walking dead). Since this game talks a lot about polict and ethics, it is a pretty interesting system to say the least. "Reading and doing multiple pathways, only to be tired enough to sleep" doesn't exists here. The game has two kinds of saves: One that you can always acess, either you quit the game or not, and works like a normal one and quicksaves, that works for saving time when doing other pathways. Also, the game has a skip mode, it will skip all the text that has already been presented to the player, so you will never read the same thing twice. Which is kinda cool. If a kind of system like this could've existed on Corpse Party series, i wouldn't have waster +50 hours of my life to get all the endings for both games (I know, right. I suck :P).

Soundtrack: Holy mackina, my ears are so pleased. The opening song is awesome, the game song is awesome, the ambient sound is awesome...But i kinda missed voice acting. I know it isn't much common in Visual Novels to use it, but at least they could do some especific (And important) lines to make us even more attached to the characters, like in the other Visual Novels that i have already mentioned.

Story: Oh boy. I don't know how i tell the story of this game without spoiling it, so here you go: Discover for yourself. It's really thrilling, it has heavy amounts of extra information that you can always see in your codex and one of the most beautiful written dialogues that i've ever seen. All characters feel human and you can easily understand they personality as soon as you come in the game. The plot consists of travelling through multiple worlds/dimensions and dealing with chaos, trying to solve this alternate beings problems. But these aren't just ordinary problems (They exist, as mentioned in the game), they involve a lot of thinking and toughs that will make the player guessing and giving his own opinion about what's happening (Even though the game can't hear you xD). It's really explorable and has a good universe to develop the plot and such. Also, characters presented at the end of the game already make me feels that episode 2 is going to be epic.

This first episode might be short in your first playthrough, but you can explore many things. Multiple endings, many information and such a work of new scenes and drawings makes replayability a possible thing and it's sure as hell worth it. Also: This game has the best anime opening that i've seen this year. Period. Buy this NOW. (Especially because it's -80%, it's SO worth it!). Can't wait for episode 2 :3
Posted: March 14th, 2014
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
239 products in account
8 reviews
2.8 hrs on record


Posted: August 18th, 2014
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9 of 14 people (64%) found this review helpful
3,142 products in account
24 reviews
2.4 hrs on record
A thoughtful visual novel (with a couple of un/branching choice points) about social and political conflict and how a couple of Utopian trans-dimensional travelers attempt to resolve (or make it worse). Expect little gameplay and plenty of reading, but also some well done visual and musical vignettes. Unfortunately, once you do the main path, the other choices offer little replay-ability or meaningful content aside from getting the odd achievements. Developer Deschan promised additional episodes in this series, which hopefully will further flesh out the title's world and characters. Until then, I would avoid a full price purchase unless you are a big fan of the genre. 3/5
Posted: March 22nd, 2014
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13 of 23 people (57%) found this review helpful
46 products in account
2 reviews
3.6 hrs on record
TL;DR: Too short for $5, buy on sale or wait for the other episodes and buy them together. Not interesting, tends to get boring. Lack of a sense of urgency, time literally flies by without you noticing. Main character is boring, has what feels like an entire section set up for characterization and does nothing with it. Seemingly lesbian character outed for no particular reason and also has an achievement seemingly based on the fact that she is lesbian for no particular reason. Not a branching story, incredibly streamline with only one real choice in the whole game.

I like Dischan's other visual novel and I wanted this because I thought it would be similar. While that game wasn't branching, it was somewhat thought provoking (even if it's an overused idea that they went with as far as the moral quandry in that game) but for a free game it was really good. With money behind them, I thought they'd make something interesting. Sure enough, they came up with an interesting idea for a new game.

Then promptly went nowhere with it.

This game is unbelievably short-- I beat it twice and spent three hours trying to get all of the achievements, which I haven't completed at the time of this recommendation-- and it's not even interesting the entire way through. You could potentially divide the story into three parts (though really it's just two if you consider the first and second part the same thing): The Prologue, the Supposed Interesting Part, and the Lesbian(?) Dormitory.

In the Prologue, there's a very shoehorned in "characterization" of the main character, which is fine but not very well done. But you don't make any choices here. You're meant to use this time to learn about the main character Winter, but she's just so boring and straightlaced and you don't even know why she adheres to the rules so much. She has flashes of her past, which I think was a device to make her interesting, but those are quickly forgotten or pushed to the wayside. She doesn't say anything interesting and mostly whines for the entire introduction. Since the player knows her thoughts, it's made worse by the attempts to make the user "bond" with her. It doesn't work because there's nothing to bond with. She's just some rule-follower who seems upset to be...not following rules. Her mentor is clearly her opposite, but nothing interesting happens with him in the beginning.

The Supposed Interesting Part is, by naming convention alone, supposed to be interesting. It starts out interestingly enough, but then immediately falls off. You're given a time limit, which is a great way to put pressure on the player. What are you doing? Trying to prevent a giant loss that has a lot of political backing to it. Also interesting. There seem to be tons of different ways to proceed too, which is why it's a shame this game lets you pick between a whopping two different things. And both of them are watered down into very simplistic, almost meaningless drivel. The main character talks alot about death, but there's no weight to it. Nothing makes you feel urgent or makes you want to help the maincharacter. In fact, there's a sense of urgency to the whole game that isn't done well-- you don't know how much time has passed or is passing, and you're not doing anything but blindly following this mentor character who isn't explaining his motivations. You only have one story branching choice and the character will moan and whine unless you pick the one she's been leaning towards the whole time. It would be interesting if her choice actually affected anything, but it doesn't. You don't learn much new information no matter which you pick. The idea that you have four hours to save the world, which essentially is the entire midgame, is rendered almost useless by the watered down argument of morals that follows your choice, and then immediately afterwards, everything comes to a climax. Compartively, a game like 999 makes 9 hours feel like an eternity in the game and out of the game. This game's rush to get to the climax makes it more chore-like than game-like.

In the final stretch, the game goes into a fantasy mode I don't quite understand. The main character spends her time either sulking or trying to be funny with her roommate, who makes very many lesbian references but doesn't follow through (you even get an achievement called Undertones for no real reason after the lesbian-esque speaking) and while there's nothing wrong with gay characters and they don't need to have a reason to be gay or anything like that... what is the point of highlighting it so much? It ruins the end of the game because now whenever this new character comes up, she'll just be "the lesbian roommate" instead of "the roommate". Plus there's not much explaination on this other Earth, so they say a lot of things with no real explaination and people stop by and say things that make sense but it'd be nice to have more information. What's a Northwesterner? I guess they come from the Northwest. That's about all you get from the game. You have no real notion of space or time, everything's so divorced from the player that it makes the game boring.

To sum up: This game is not worth buying alone and definitely not for $5. If you didn't get it on sale, wait for it to go on sale, or buy it in a bundle when the other episodes come out. Don't buy this thinking it'll be a huge, twisting, moral quandry inducing story-- it's nothing of the sort. It's run of the mill and ordinary.
Posted: March 16th, 2014
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14 of 25 people (56%) found this review helpful
422 products in account
24 reviews
1.2 hrs on record
There are two things that make a visual novel game good - story and range of choices.

Story is ridiculously didactic and pretentious. I didn't care about or relate to the characters at all.
There's only one section of the game where you shape the plot in any way, shape or form, and even then your choices seem to only have a very neglible effect.
Posted: March 12th, 2014
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196 of 203 people (97%) found this review helpful
314 products in account
1 review
8.2 hrs on record
Juniper's Knot is another game created by the same people that made Dysfunctional Systems, and is legally free to download for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS at Dischan's website. It's pretty short, and should give you a good idea whether or not you'll actually enjoy this game.

You'll probably notice that there was no sort of interactivity involved in playing Juniper's Knot, aside from clicking to progress to the next line of text. This is more or less how Dysfunctional Systems plays, except this game actually has moments where you get to choose from a short list of options what you (Winter) should do. However, there aren't many times you actually get to do this, and it is actually possible to play through the entire story by only making a single decision. All of the choice moments in the game are placed together around half-way through the game, and they only lead to two endings. The ending you get is determined entirely by whether or not you can convince your mentor (Cyrus) to listen to what you have to say, and not do what he initially decides he should do in order to solve the problem he's given. I wouldn't consider either ending to be a "good ending", but I suppose that's why this is only the first episode in the series.

As for how the game looks and sounds, the artstyle is similar to Juniper's Knot's, and you can listen to the ost on YouTube, so you can decide for yourself if you like those parts before you buy the game. If you really like the sountrack, you can find all 18 tracks in both flac and mp3 format in the game's files.

This game is short. I'm not a fast reader, but I played through this the first time in only about two and a half hours, then about another hour to get the second ending. You can get more playtime by going through all the routes for the achievements for a little extra replayability, but there's a guide on the game's community hub that'll tell you exactly what routes you need to go through to unlock all the achievements.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, episode 2 of Dysfunctional Systems is planned to be released by September later this year, and episode 3 by March 2015. Until these episodes are finished and released to the public, the story in this game is incomplete. If you're looking for a complete story, then you should at least wait until the next two episodes come out.
Posted: January 5th, 2014
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