Title screen of Dysfunctional Systems
Dysfunctional systems was a game who’s execution is nice and the opening is awesome and the music is awesome, however it disappoints in a lot of minor ways that add up to a lot of papercuts that bleed and hurt.
The main flaw of this game lies in the characters, which for a visual novel is crucial. You have the two main characters Winter and Cyrus. Winter is 14 and Cyrus is a misogynistic asshole. Cyrus is also Winter’s mentor so she had to jump whenever he says to. This power dynamic is terrible.
When you start off with him he treats her like a pet than a human being. Constantly calls her “girl” and dismisses anything she has to say. There a scene where she is going to punch him and the creators decided that since she’s a girl she has absolutely zero force behind it, where in Cyrus just pats her on her head. They obviously know shit about fourteen year old girls. I though this would just be his character as terrible as writers feel the need to keep using these shitty characters. Later towards the end of the game however I see that other shittiness peek out.
The main thing that first killed me on this is when they get to Sule and Cyrus is forcing Winter to drink. Winter over and over says she doesn’t want to, so Cyrus overrides her bodily autonomy and forcefully coerces her to drink in the bar using both his status as a mentor and his supposed knowledge. You find out his oh so great experience is a pile of beans. This is where I was shaking my head. Here we have a male character forcing a female character to do something against their will, I might add she’s 14 and considered underage to be drinking here in the real world, there on Earthen and even on Sule. So now her morals are compromised too, all so the writer could sneak in her having him do something for her. Whoop de doo. In stead of writing a good character and a good plot in Cyrus, they chose to write a shitty one. I seriously wanted him to be pulled off the mission. Seriously, the time it comes up for you to use that bit, it could be solved different ways.. like oohhh.. him finally being convinced to do things her way. No she basically has to be mentally assaulted to resolve that.
Exactly what I think Winter: Goodness, how annoying. And hasn’t he been annoying since orientation? Pestering me and staring at me: an annoying and unlikable person, this Cyrus-with a reputation at that, I hear.
Misogynistic asshole alert
Are they seriously saying her beer drinking is to be taken as a rape scene?!
Using his power over her bodily autonomy
Because 14 year old girls are simply whimpering weak puppies.
I did my best to try and ignore that glaring garbage, and was about to write a somewhat better review, then I decided to try for the other ending……. That’s when we get into the fat shaming, gender shaming and homophobia. Oh they also make fun of a characters accent too, because that’s always funny. I would say it’s racist, but the character Irie isn’t described in any detail and the accent to me seemed Irish. I should not that Earthen is constantly being described as a “Utopian/Egalitarian Society”
Anyway, here’s a screen of the dialogue, Waverly (Winter’s Roomate) and Irie (Random Person):
Waverly "She's not gaunt."
Her smile vanishes.
Irie "Aye, you're right, V: ‘er thighs..."
Her smile returns.
Irie "What does she do to fill those thighs, V? Hath she let you give ‘em a
Irie "She's a mess of a girl-'ardly e'en looks a girl-but those legs..."
Irie "Who gave ‘er the idea to wear those stockings of 'ers? Goodness!"
Waverly "You sound like a lesbian."
Irie "V, I'm just admiring another beau'iful woman, as a beautiful woman
m'self. Nothin' lezzy about tha'."
Her lips twist a little, and she looks right into my eyes.
Irie "Tell me, who here would think of another girl with lustful eyes? Who's the
Irie but I digress! Winnie could stand to be much more beautiful, eh
Mind you that Winter is sleeping and under the covers so they have basically invaded her privacy here.
They start off with the fat shaming, the move on to going “She’s not a girl because I’m a girl and pass judgement on what girls should look like!” then onto “Your a lesbian how terrible!”, “I’m not a lesbian, that’s a terrible thing to be”, finished with “You are a MAN if you look at women like this!” Because… lesbians are bad, if you look on a woman a certain way your sexuality changes JUST LIKE THAT aaaand you must be a dude becausee… heterosexism? Seriously were they trying to say, if she’s a lesbian she must be the ‘man’ in that relationship?
If you are in the kind of society they seem to keep alluding to I doubt people would go “Your a lesbo!” like that and would just accept what the person was saying without judgement and would be like “She likes to pass judgement on women’s bodies…..” which in that kind of society WOULDN’T BE HAPPENING IN THE FIRST PLACE. (Shit Cyrus wouldn’t be happenigin the first place.)
This dialogue is just all kinds of fucked up and made me just finally table flip on this whole visual novel. Cyrus was terrible then with this…
The final “paper cut” (really these are more like knife wounds) is finding out ALL the mentors are older men and the proteges are girls. C R E E P Yand truly sexist.
In one of the ending Waverly’s mentor even rubs her shoulder. DX!!!
So the overall: Music was good, art/style execution was good, overall plot was good, story and characters were all sorts of bigoted garbage that I’m tired of seeing in gaming.