The Sand Gardeners are Colin le Duc and Sam Machell. We make video games and net art about ghosts, text, and non-places.
Scroll for some chronologically notable works and kind words:
Brownie Cove Express is an upcoming haunted collage narrative game about trains, snow, ghosts, and memories. Through interactive text and a playful mess of media you will experience a surreal network of stories and sadness.
"Gameplay largely takes the form of point-and-click exploration of scenes, as well as story-driven choices and conversations, with a surprisingly number of dialogue branches that have a real effect on the course of the game." - The Mirror
"The game asks simple things of you as you explore its story – perhaps to call up a memory, or to feel what the character is sharing with you. [...] The story is told in such a way that you cannot help but examine the parts of yourself you can see in these stories." - Indie Games Plus
"Following all of these individual stories, understanding these characters, and looking into a window of their strange lives is a truly phenomenal experience." - Big Boss Battle
"This is an announcement for all passengers on flight BC036 to Brownie Cove. We are sorry to inform you that your flight has been delayed. This is due to… unforeseen circumstances. Please check the boards for more up-to-date information about this flight."
Colin le Duc - programming and design
Marc Loths - art, animation, and level design
Sam Machell - sound and design
"At first it’s nice to have time to potter around, to grab a snack and check out the airport’s graveyard or petting zoo with ambulant hoverfish, but eventually… the drudgery of waiting hits." - Rock Paper Shotgun
"The game’s airport is an over-saturated dreamscape, one that aptly simulates the languid, draining pace of airport life as travelers slowly cook under sickly fluorescent lights." - Kotaku
"Brownie Cove Cancelled is a sharp look at an interminably dull time many of us have gone through at some point." - Indie Games Plus
It is a time of war.
The RESISTANCE is dwindling, and the last remaining members take refuge in an abandoned power station in the heart of the EXHAUSTLANDS.
The FASCIST army moves closer everyday - unstoppable and hungry.
Under the cold BROWNIE COVE sun, members of the Resistance journey out into the lands to explore the area, and prepare to do battle with the approaching DARKNESS.
At the EGX Rezzed Leftfield Collection 2019 we showed a collaborative version of Exhaustlands. Players worked together on the same virtual and physical map, adding their discoveries and progress, leaving hints for future adventurers, or making anonymous mistakes, impacting future success silently along the road. Each player would also have to grapple with the playfully hellish controller made from a child's toy wheel.
"[T]he only memory I take away is a lonely drive through a remorseless, unrelenting darkness, unsure if there was anything out there at all. " - Electron Dance
For one night only we are showing Definition of a Ghuest, an exclusive documentary about hotels, hauntings, and horror by ___.
This groundbreaking film is in part a remake of an installation piece of the same name, and so to capture the spirit of the original work, we will be showing this film in an unconventional way - in the middle of a motorway.
Location will be provided closer to the date.
"Sommes-nous un fantôme condamné à hanter en continu la même chambre d’hôtel ? Sommes-nous l’acteur d’une performance artistique ? Sommes-nous plusieurs individus, se succédant dans la même chambre ? Sommes-nous la chambre ? Sommes-nous aussi le public ? Ce couple qui discute dans la voiture ? Seulement l’un des deux ?" - Oujevipo
"In a sense, “Definition of a Ghuest” isn’t doing story-telling in the traditional meaning, but maybe something more like term-telling? Instead of just handing you a 2000 word long essay, the game developers came up with a new idea, term or concept, and let you face it in a virtual environment. " - Game Jam Curator
You can't remember what time it is, but you know it is late. you have just checked into your room at the Brownie Cove Hotel. the bed is lumpy and you can't sleep, but the tv is tempting...
For the EGX 2018 Leftfield Collection we exhibited the game in an installation format with tactile tuning dials and real CRT eye-strain.
"It is rare that a game which uses words and simple, filtered imagery can make me both shudder and relax within the same sitting, but Sand Gardeners’ manner of writing, and use of perception, certainly achieves that." - Indie Games Plus
"The deliberately mundane vessel of old, late-night hotel television is elevated by parodical wit and the elements of novelty and surprise." - The Indie Game Website
"Se basant sur divers témoignages retrouvées sur des tablettes anciennes, Between Stations se veut une reconstitution fidèle de cette télévision, de cette « télé » comme disaient les anciens, de cette époque où il neigeait tous les jours entre les stations." - Oujevipo
"Guilt, awkwardness, humour, unease and confusion are delivered in rapid succession by this game, presented purely through simple multiple choice decision making." - Finger Guns
Time for work, Cashbags! At the Brownie Cove Hotel, anything goes… and you are in charge. Check in strange guests from bizarre lands, get involved in conspiracies and stories, try to keep the hotel afloat, and uncover the dark mystery that you have tried to forget...
Story & Graphics - Sam Machell
Programming - Zephyr Raine
Music & Sfx - Ia Med
"There’s a lot more going on at the Brownie Cove Hotel than meets the eye – it’s said that a place of paradise is never what it seems." - Rock Paper Shotgun
"The guests are the stars of Cashbags, with their cartoonish faces and weird dialogue, which veers between the surreal, the funny and the dark." - PC Gamer