Multi-millionaire Richard Garriott probably hasn't been to a garage sale in many years (unless they were actually selling garages), but he's making a game about them. Perhaps those are the "roots" he intended to return to with his recent startup, Portalarium.

Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale, going into closed beta "just after the holidays," is a Facebook game that claims to invent a new "shopping and collecting" category of social games. Players create homes and avatars, and then search in-game garage sales, storage units, estate sales, pawn shops, and other junkeries to complete collections of real-world items, using them to decorate their houses or flipping them in their own sales. Portalarium said that "national retailers" will also have in-game stores.

Garriott's own experiences do play into the design of Ultimate Collector. Many of the available items will be from his own collection of ephemera, including space memorabilia, "quack medical devices," and of course shrunken heads. And all of the real-world items will come with information about their provenance.

"In fact we've provided links in the game so players can go back to these websites to learn more about the items they've collected," said executive producer Dallas Snell, "and, in some cases, even buy them for real if they still exist and are available for sale."
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Legendary game designer Richard Garriott and Austin, Texas-based team to roll out new category in social media space; Game will focus on the collectible shopping craze that is sweeping country



AUSTIN, Texas, December 7, 2011-Portalarium™, an Austin-based publisher and developer of premium quality games for social networks and mobile platforms today announces the creation of the company's first original social network game, Ultimate Collector™: Garage Sale. The game is being developed under the guidance of hall-of-fame designer Richard Garriott and will introduce a new category within the social media space, shopping and collecting. The game is nearing initial launch completion and will be moving into closed beta service just after the holidays.



"The collectible craze is growing by leaps and bounds in this country and it's becoming popular in other parts of the world," said Garriott, co-founder and creative director at Portalarium and an avid collector in his own right. "It's been fueled by cable television programs such as American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. By the broadest definition, this is an unregulated multi-billion dollar industry in the real world. Ultimate Collector spans the gamut of that entire activity and is a way for treasure and bargain searching people to transfer that enthusiasm - that passion for the ultimate hunt - into the social network space."



A collecting game goes hand in hand with how Richard Garriott has lived his life. His home in Austin is full of unique and unusual items he's collected over the years: shrunken heads, vampire killing kits, quack medical devices, centuries-old armor, automata mechanical toys, space artifacts, swords and scientific instruments, many of which you'll find in the game plus a whole lot more.



In Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale, the quest to find and assemble a wide variety of fabulous collections is easy and fun. Create your avatar and your house and begin the quest for the items you want. With plenty of content to appeal to both males and females, these items might be antique radios, purple stuffed toys, home décor, books, artwork, historical weapons or just a set of tools. Items can be collected as you visit your friends' or other players' garage sales, estate sales, markets, pawn shops, storage units, auctions or even from national retailers who will have their own stores in the game.



"There are literally thousands of collectible items in the game," said Executive Producer Dallas Snell. "You may find an item that you really want, but you may need it authenticated by an expert to find out its true value. Some items might need repair to increase their worth. They are all real world items and we've scoured the Internet looking at auction and collectors' sites to determine authenticity. In fact we've provided links in the game so players can go back to these websites to learn more about the items they've collected and, in some cases, even buy them for real if they still exist and are available for sale."



But the game is not just about shopping and collecting, it's also about decorating and world building. Purchase a pink flamingo or hot tub to add curb appeal to your yard sale. Offer food and beverages to visiting customers. When you do, sit back and watch more of your friends or game characters flock to your sale. Place your treasured collections in special display cases inside your house and show them off to your friends. As the game evolves, you can buy larger pieces of property so that you can have even bigger houses to have even bigger garage sales. Buy even more extravagant furniture and decorations to impress your friends and other visitors.



Ultimate Collector will launch initially on Facebook. And in coming weeks, Portalarium will be announcing even more exciting news about the game. We invite all our fans to stop by the Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/UltimateCollector. Click on "like" and we'll keep you posted on our launch plans.



About Portalarium

Portalarium is revolutionizing role-playing games for social media. Formed in September of 2009 in Austin, Texas, Portalarium is developing and publishing premium online games and virtual worlds for popular social networks and mobile platforms. Portalarium games maximize the fun and social play experience between friends, making it is easy to find each other and play together regardless of where you are or what you are playing. For more information about Portalarium, go to www.portalarium.com.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.