Goodman Games recently sat down with the man behind the mask, Joey Royale, he of Get Haunted Industries (Ninja City, Darkest Dice) and Pizza Party fame. We talked gaming, the DCC community, the lock down, and, of course, the anything-goes wildness of his new hit Twitch show for Goodman Games, Joey Royale’s Pizza Party. Read on to learn what makes this bionic meatball tick!
Who are you and what makes you a member of the DCC/MCC Community?
I’m just a guy who loves a good adventure and large mozzarella pie, half mushroom and olives, half anchovy with a large orange soda. Let me get a bag of salt and vinegar chips and a side of rice pudding too. Please- to go with plenty of napkins. When I am not rolling dice, I am a public education administrator with a passion for improving early childhood education, establishing purposeful play in the classroom, and ensuring that every student that walks through the doors of my school has a voice and is celebrated for who they are.
When it comes to the DCC/MCC Community, I have taken up the mantle of evangelizer of the game and its scene. DCC has opened up so many doors for me, both creatively and socially. I have found my tribe and I want to invest my energy back into something that has provided me with so many positive experiences.
Joey Royale’s Pizza Party is…an experience. What was the inspiration for this madness?
Something on my list of things to do before I die is host a public access show. Check that off, I’m good to go now.
That’s the foundation of the Pizza Party. With public access, it always seems that something is about to go off the rails. I admire public access hosts for believing in themselves enough to go on-air and put all their niche weirdness right out there to the masses, judgments and criticisms be damned. I wanted to capture that low-budget, anything-goes feel. It seems that some corners of the gaming world have become very un-fun and unkind. I wanted to provide a dayglo space station where we can leave all the brow-knitting and negativity behind and just party. It is an exercise in not taking ourselves too seriously. Then, of course, there is Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Beyond Vaudeville, and Weird Al. I owe them all a fruit basket. It’s in the mail.
Is it bad that I recognize all of the movie clips used in the opening credits?
No way—that just puts another stripe on your Black Belt of Coolness! See, you get it. That’s why we are the DCC tribe. Those movies, the books, the comics, the airbrushed vans—that’s that particular marinara that we have been fed throughout the years. That’s the flavor. To quote the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, “You got the flavor!”
Your publishing through Get Haunted Industries is just as madcap as your show. I especially love the Chick-Tract inspired Darkest Dice release. Were you a part of the Satanic Panic era?
You bet. I was an altar boy in the 80s and early 90s, for crying out loud. I come from an accepting, progressive family, so it was never a thing in my house, but I saw its effects in other kids’ families. I remember seeing a lot of stuff on tabloid news shows of the era like Current Affair and of course, there was always the playground talk about the devil worshippers in the woods. Then, there was a violent crime in the town next to mine that the prosecution tried to connect to Dungeons and Dragons. That house became the boogeyman incarnate. Adults still don’t get it though, the more you try to scare kids, the more you get them interested. And that’s how Joey Royale, the gamer, came to be.
I love dropping those little tracts around town and so do my kids.
What’s in the future for Get Haunted Industries?
Create, create, create. I’m the type of person that has to keep pumping stuff out at a regular rate or else I get nutty like a pignoli. Weird Heroes of Public Access is an rpg project that I have been working on that keeps me regulated. With WHPA, I send out monthly pamphlets and ephemera that build out the setting and provide adventure hooks. That keeps me always thinking and writing. I am planning on a follow-up supplement to Ninja City, and I really want Tim Deschene and I to get another One Of Us product out there. Big plans, I tell ya, big plans.
I am always up for a project, so if any of you out there want to throw something weird together, I am game! I dare ya, kid!
The Twitch show has opened up a whole new world of possibilities and I have feverishly been planning more episodes. That is a medium I am really enjoying. Big thanks to the supporters who are digging it and sending me the nice messages and stacks of cash.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your personal gaming and professional publishing?
Madone! It has been tough, but like my homeboy, Leonard Cohen, once told me, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”. You might not be able to tell, but under the hair and the mask, I fancy myself an entertainer. Running games around a table is like being a lead singer in a band. I live for that experience. I was running little cons in my town at bars, I turned my basement into a vintage gaming room and having the crew over, the whole nine yards, and then, boom, all over. I put the plastic over the furniture and locked the door. A crushing blow to a burgeoning time of gaming in my life.
Now, I’m hooked up to a Zoom like a bionic meatball. Here is where the light comes in- I’m actually gaming more than ever with friends from all over the planet. I miss the sounds of dice flying off the table, the appetizer buffets, and the break dancing that we grew accustomed to during in-person games, but I will never complain about the amazing adventures I have had the privilege of being part of over the past year or years or however long it has been.
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I probably would not have been working and putting out so much stuff. Gaming has been something that has, without exaggeration and in all seriousness, fortified by mental and emotional well-being during the particularly difficult waves of the pandemic. Games and game publishing have been a beacon of joy for me so I feel it is my duty to hone my craft and share it with others.
Thanks for taking some time out and speaking with us. We can’t wait to see what’s in store!