Deficit is a Semi-Fictional Experiential ADHD Story, based on real-life ADHD experiences. Navigate your way through several vignettes as you learn more about how structural barriers and attitudes can create a difficult environment for those whose brains work differently. Read the Artist Statement at First Person Scholar here.

Best played on Firefox in Fullscreen (F11/FN+F11), on a laptop or desktop computer.

Playtime: About 15 minutes.

Content Warning:

This game contains Flashing and Blinking lights, and References to: ADHD, mental health, medication, drugs, trauma, and self-esteem. Some content may be distressing to some players.

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Release date Oct 16, 2020
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
(16 total ratings)
AuthorGav Sarafian
GenreInteractive Fiction
Made withAdobe Photoshop, Twine
Tagsadd, adhd, Mental Health, neurodivergent, Text based, Twine
Average sessionA few minutes


Deficit-1.1.exe 78 MB

Install instructions

Download the .exe, and run it! 
PLEASE NOTE: You likely will have to tell Windows/Mac that the file is safe, and your antivirus might not like it either. Executable is mostly for archival purposes; some visual effects do not work. For best experience, play in Firefox!

Development log


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there were moments when I could very much relate to the things that were written. most of it while attending college. just having to juggle trying to remember what assignments, memorizing class times/fixating hard on when said classes ended, running to the next class from one part of the campus to another. then my thoughts got halted when being faced with the option of hardcore petting some fabric, dragged me back the those elementary days. sitting down for story-time and rubbing the carpet furiously because that pleasant sensation until it got to much.

random from the petting of fabric, the struggle of trying to keep focus is hard, and there times when anxiety picks up with intense hardcore leg shaking until it brings about pain and just there were moments I felt connected to what was said. I've been scolded so many times for my poor memory despite being a young adult it's just I'm left in a daze frozen in place trying to figure out what the heck I was meant to recall. a former friend said they think I might have autism, then so did a therapist I saw followed by a doctor. not diagnosised yet as it's costly, but it's nice when you can get something confirmed and just come to this moment - I understand why these things the way they are.

another random bit I kept thinking whenever seeing the staitc pop up, I'd actually hear it. another random is my brain trying to logic picking up the things [by piling them all into the shirt] and then getting spooked by the medication.

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Ironically, I should have been marking, but decided to check this out instead! Thank you for putting our experience(s) into a game. I call them the dolphins in my brain. Sometimes, they are able to work together in a pod to achieve some task. But they also often split up, each doing its own thing and thinking its own thoughts. That is why the "internal monologue" trope in movies and plays strikes me as so odd ("Does anyone actually think like that?") and why I talk to myself too much.

Oh! Is there supposed to be any sound?

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I am highly suspected to have AD(H)D, focus on ADD, it will take a few more months until I will have a diagnosis. But I can understand what is expressed in this game quite well. Circulating thoughts, anxiety, procrastination, perfectionism, some compulsive disorders and so on. When I remember my early youth resp. my time on high school/gymnasium (in Germany) I now can understand much better what went wrong, for example.

The point, however, is that there are, because ADHD is mostly linked with childhood, fail diagnostics that suggest a normal depression, anxiety and-or compulsive disorder and similar

i actually should probably be finishing math right now so imma go do that but great game! SUPER accurate!

I was only diagnosed about a year ago and everything has still been so confusing. Finding out my "normal" was far from many other people's "normal" rocked my whole world. Honestly, I'm not sure what this game made me feel, maybe numb? At peace? So many things were happening at once but it was all so accurate. It was like someone was ripping my thoughts and experiences straight out of my head and tossing them on the screen. Thank you for making this <3

Well said!


As a teen who was diagnosed at a super young age, I found this game incredibly accurate and I want to just express the absolute awe i have for your creation rn. A masterpiece for sure <3


I have ADHD and playing this was just too overwhelming. Sorry I couldn't finish.


That's perfectly okay - I appreciate that you tried!


It's lowkey scary how accurate this is for me. My parents are so pissed that I don't get homework done but this is the exact reason why but I feel so guilty saying "I can't focus and do school because I have ADHD" as though I am using one of my mental disorders as an excuse to get them to stop being upset at me for not doing my homework. I cannot focus, I get so overwhelmed, I can hear everything, but it doesn't register for me. This game just gives me reassurance that I'm not alone and what I go through is valid. 


I'm glad that it could give you reassurance. Knowing yourself is an important step in being able to set boundaries, and to ask for help (when you want it, ofc). I hope that things go better for you!

I used to have a lot of imagination, i still have some but not nearly as much. Me and my friend have ADHD and i'm going to share this with him later today, i will (hopefully) come back here and tell you his thoughts. (That is if i don't forget.) Also, thank you so much for making this.

Thank you for playing! <3

Thanks for this. I was diagnosed with the combined subtype at age 6, and I've had to slog through A LOT of stigma along the way. Perhaps this might help clarify things for people...

I'm glad you found this game! Feel free to share it with anyone you'd like :)


As someone with ADHD theres not much i can say other than Thank you.

This means a lot, thank you for playing!


As someone with ADHD this really helps me
thank you for making this people can finally understand how i feel

Thank you for playing!

thank you for making it

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Thank you thank you thank you. I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 19, about five years ago. I think about my disorder Every Day. I can't Not think about it. 

I'm so grateful you were able to put this experience together. I've wanted to make something that simulates the experience of ADHD for a while, but- surprise!- I haven't gotten around to it yet. I love how you were able to highlight the severity of the symptoms- how much they interfere with everyday life, how present it always is- without creating a sense of hopelessness.

The "Fix Cable" scenario hit me the hardest. Like: why did that take so long? I was being good! I chose to fix the cable every time! I really do mean to fix the cable, but I just can't, for reasons that I can't control nor explain; and nobody seems to see that I've been deciding to fix the cable this whole time, I promise, I know how to do it, why can't I just do it--

Also! I gave a little cheer when I saw you included Dr. Russell Barkley's book Taking Charge of Adult ADHD in the resources. He delivers information in an ADHD-friendly manner, and I recommend Dr. Barkley's work to anyone that wants to know more about this disorder.

Again: this really resonated with me. I'm so glad you made it, and shared it, and that I got to play it. Thank you.

Thank you for playing! I'm glad you got so much out of it. I wanted to present a perspective from a lived experience, without being too preachy or negative-- I hope I accomplished that!