While Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale will (apparently) eventually be available to play on Zynga.com, the Pickers-inspired, Zynga-published Facebook game is now available to play on Facebook proper in an early beta version. The overall goal in Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale is to turn trash into treasure as you purchase items at yard sales and then resell them at your own for a profit.
Most of the sales in Ultimate Collector take place only after appraising the item in question. Each item, regardless of category (toys, trinkets, novelties, etc.) comes with a set of stats and traits that can increase or decrease its value. Upon entering a friend's yard sale, or the many sales that are computer-generated, you'll see an asking price for the item and an assumed value for what you can sell the item for back home. You can then spend energy to appraise the item, unlocking one trait at a time that can decrease the asking price (say, if the item is stained or otherwise damaged) or increase its resell value (if the item is rare or otherwise collectible).
Back home, you can purchase a variety of stands, boxes and other display items within which to sell your wares. You'll need to wait a few minutes or a few hours for offers to come in on each product, and you'll then be able to accept or decline the offer that arrives, depending on how good of a deal it ultimately is. That is, if you have an item that you paid only 50 coins for, but the offer is for 100 or more coins, you'd obviously be making a profit and the offer would likely be worth accepting. On the other hand, if you have an item that's been appraised to be worth 250 coins, but someone only offers 200, you can choose to hold out for another offer and see if you can earn the full asking price.
This setup is more complicated in writing than it is in practice, but it is made more complex by the additional ability to repair items that you'll collect. This brings in a forced social mechanic, as you may be required to ask your friends for materials in order to repair stains, torn fabric, missing components, etc. You don't have to repair an item, if you'd rather play by yourself (or, more likely, don't have any friends playing with you), but the value of said item will increase greatly if you go through with it before selling it.
Rounding out the package is the ability to decorate your home and even purchase additional homes that have more room to sell items. You'll need to balance the use of your profits for decorating and purchasing additional items, as you won't want to splurge on a decor item for your home only to not be able to buy any additional items to sell in your garage sale.
Unfortunately, this early version of Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale suffers from some pretty major issues, the most noteworthy of which is slow performance. Actions can take up to 30 seconds to register after you've clicked and windows take quite a while to load. Additionally, the game's many characters simply look mean, as your own avatar will stand still, arms crossed, and constantly tapping his/her foot as if their time is too valuable to wait for you to make a decision. Finally, some of the images of the game's collectibles are blurry and unattractive, or don't match the traits you'll end up revealing (a doll may have "no hair" as a negative trait, for instance, but hair is clearly visible on the doll in the picture).
If nothing else, Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale earns credit for trying something new, even if this "trash to treasure" mechanic has been seen before in other traditional PC download games (like the aforementioned Pickers games). It would be nice if the game ran more smoothly or had more to do outside of simply appraising and selling objects, but as it stands, Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale is an interesting game that can only get better from here.
Click here to try Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale on Facebook --->
Have you tried Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale? Do you think the game has the potential to be a hit on Facebook or Zynga.com? Sound off in the comments!