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 (587 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
7 of 10 people (70%) 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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9 of 14 people (64%) found this review helpful
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 18
Two things!

As I was much younger I loved the book "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain" and the many books that came after this, it started my year long affection to roleplaying games and adventures. You try to affect the game with your decissions, the newes fad in this category are "Visual Novels" - some of them are quite blatantly Dating Sims. Luckily this game doesn't fall into this category of "Visual Novel" or "Romantic Readalong". It has a dystopian backdrop, and some, well you can say demands. During the past months I developed a healthy - avoidance syndrome - towards this relatively new genre of games, but since so many of them landed now in my backlist, I'll play them. Some of them are good and interesting, the most are not. This game is no exception to the later group.

Second, the game was praised for the different and variable outcomes of the game. Ok, there are some choices, but the choices are leading to the same end result (not the epilogue - that isn't even a funny little thing with the room-mate, dear developers). I played it several times only to gain the achievements - but alone on the end result of this first part, I wouldn't buy the second part. You are very limited in the choices, and the outcome is with just little variations the same.

To a fan of this genre it might be a godsend, to all others it can become a burden and bore to play, it's winded up in it's own verbosity, it lacks a lot of humor (naivity of the protagonist isn't really funny) and the really good artworks are like a dull firework in a even duller story.

I'd vote for more ingenuity.
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1 of 2 people (50%) 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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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 7
The artstyle is beautiful, the characters are interesting and promising; Overall, it has a lot of potential. The dialogue needs a bit of improving, though, and it is an INCREDIBLY SHORT game- Not really worth this much money, at all. Wait for it to get cheaper, then certainly do buy it.

Looking forward to the next chapter!
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1 of 3 people (33%) 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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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 20
Great art & UI
The music is not really good, an there's no voice acting
7/10
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 12
First off let's get the music out of the way. Excellent, quickly became one of my favorite soundtracks. The characters were consistent, though I may have disliked the protagonists personality it was a dislike of "Yeah, I know someone like that." The art doesn't detract from the game and even enhances it in key points throughout.

Now for the downsides. The game is excrutiatingly short, and it is extended to just below reasonable by the slow text boxes. Seriously I feel the transistions and text alone double the game time. The choices are few within the game, I can say I don't have a lot of VN experience but I would've expected more than 2 real interactive dialog points. Even at a low price of $5 it still seems like you aren't getting the full value per dollar. The seemingly branching path does add some replay value but using a save is much easier than wading through the text wall that leads up to the 3-5 questions as nothing mentioned is necessary or even relevant to your responses.

The game appears to be setting up for a much larger sequel and that may or may not pend on the success of this one.

I enjoyed the game but I hope you understand the true length of this game is a mere 2-3 hours if you read all of the text. If you get it on a deal Great!
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
Tirando a falta de escolhas durante a história, Dysfunctional Systems é uma ótima Visual Novel, o universo apresentado é bastante interessante, os diálogos são gostosos de acompanhar, a arte é muito bem feita, assim como a trilha sonora.
E bem... é baratinho, então compra aí.
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5 of 12 people (42%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
Can't wait for the others :D
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2 of 13 people (15%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
Im not saying at all that this is a bad game or that people shouldn't play it. I'm just not into this sort of visual novel game, and if you are not either... lol don't play it. for people that are into it that sort of game experience, there seem to be a ton of great reviews,
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1 of 13 people (8%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
I only recommend it if you can get it cheap (1$ or 1 Euro) and enjoy reading. It only took me 3.5 hours to get all the achievements. So it is very short.
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1 of 13 people (8%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 4
The dialogue in this game is actually painful. The images are fine, the stylings are cool, and (most importantly) the story even looked to have some real potential, but the dialogue, my God. Jesus wept!
Was this review helpful? Yes No
7 of 35 people (20%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
not hentai
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos for a visual novel its not that bad and quite iteresting and i liked the poltics in it its just a shame they never made a sequal still SPOILER ALERT most of the interactivity becomes available in the second half but the story is worth reading because i found it to be quite interesting and intense in a conspiracy kind of way it is for these reasons i feel that Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos i should give a personal rating of 9/10
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1.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
This is my first visual novel, and I must say it was an excellent introduction into the genre. The art is beautiful and the accompanying soundtrack is nothing short of outstanding and immersive. It took very little time to get to know the characters and begin to like or dislike them. I am very much looking forward to attempting other paths available to me and saving alternate profiles for progression into Episode 2 when it is released! :)
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4.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 19
Starting off in a place resembling a different timeline, two travelers are there to observe and correct any possible disasters. In a world where science has progressed but humanity still suffers.
Know that this is only one chapter out of a trilogy. The rest won't be released until later. It is text heavy but enjoyable when you get into it. My first playthrough was quit short, taking less than a couple hours to complete. I didn't quite get into it until I was little more in the story but after that it was refreshing. My second playthrough was more enjoyable. I would recommend it for those who enjoy a good story.
The art and music are beautiful.

One more thing to be aware of is that it's a visual novel. As an added bonus, the OST is included with the game in FLAC and mp3 formats. It's perfect for studying music on its own. Enjoy!
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2.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 19
Only liked the music and art.
Even though I really tried to like the characters (specially the main) I just can't stand her, she's so annoying and arrogant (although I understand her ways of thinking and her morals, I can't stand her reactions, they're really childish for me, and I know she's 14 you don't need to tell me).
Also, the whole concept of an interventionist reality didn't appeal to me.
If you like that kind of science fiction I say go for it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 14
Disclaimer: review copy provided by the developer.

As visual novels go, this game has very few branches. It is possible to go through the entire game and only make one choice. (One branch from that first choice has other choices to be made.) Even still, the game doesn't allow the player much freedom. What it has, though, is really good writing. The characters and setting are very interesting and the dialogue is great.

It's the first chapter in an episodic series and the developers have promised that there will be more branching later, with decisions made in this first chapter affecting later episodes. It seems they were trying to keep the scope of the whole series under control going into the future by limiting options now. Given how it ends, I'm really looking forward to seeing where future episodes go.
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73 of 96 people (76%) 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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18 of 19 people (95%) 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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