If you have spent any amount of time on YouTube over the past thirteen years, you've likely watched one of Joey Graceffa's videos. Graceffa is creator, producer, and three-time New York Times bestselling author, who is well known for his YouTube channels which boast over 12 million subscribers combined.
He has amassed an impressive creative empire, releasing singles and EPs, a three-part young adult novel series, and the award-winning YouTube Premium series Escape the Night.
Your Money Geek caught up with Joey last week to talk about his Among Us live streams and the release of the Escape the Night board game.
Joey Graceffa Talks About Who's Sus in Among Us and the Escape the Night Board Game
Maggie Lovitt (ML): It is impossible to log on to Twitter, YouTube, Tiktok, or any of the other social media sites without seeing someone talking about Among Us. I know you have a bunch of live streams on YouTube of you playing the game. What do you think it is about Among Us that has just captured so much attention?
Joey Graceffa (JG): Well, first and foremost, it's a very collaborative type of game. You have a bunch of influencers and gamers interacting with each other in a group setting that really, I feel like [no other] video game has done before at that capacity. I think that's one of the big things, it's like a giant collaboration, but also the game is so repeatable, that you never get bored because outcomes are always going to be different. There are just so many variables that can change the play of the game. So it keeps things interesting.
Where some games like Fall Guys, [which] was popular before Among Us, was fun for the first few times, it just became a little bit too repetitive. With Among Us, you can just switch out a person that you're playing with and suddenly you have a totally different gameplay and strategy [that is] based on basically telling lies.
ML: When you play, do you prefer being the Imposter or one of the Crewmates trying to figure out who the Imposter is?
JG: I like being the Imposter. I like to kill people. [laughs]
ML: Me too!
JG: It's definitely just way more fun. I think the adrenaline rush and the strategy that goes into that, for me, is a lot more fun. I have a few friends who hate it because of the pressure and having to lie to people is overwhelming. But I think it's fun and I think it's a really cool challenge.
ML: It is. So which color feels the most sus?
JG: The most sus color? It's probably purple to me. I don't know why [but] I just feel like purple is always on my radar.
ML: Interesting. I like that. The Escape the Night tabletop game is coming out very soon, which is super exciting. At what point in the process of making your Escape the Night series on YouTube, did you decide to start working on a tabletop game?
JG: It wasn't until season three probably that I wanted to do something to get the audience more engaged. But really, after season four, I created my own escape room. That was really cool, but a lot of people who weren't able to travel to LA were like, “Oh my God, I wish I could be there. I want to experience Escape the Night.”
So I wondered if there was a way that I could create an experience like Escape the Night for people at home. So I was like, maybe I could do an escape room in a box type of thing. I am just a huge board game lover [and] I was like wait… This could actually be really cool to make a board game of Escape the Night and basically bring Escape the Night to people's living rooms.
The director of Escape the Night and I got together, we usually have board game nights and stuff. So we just started brainstorming some ideas and basically created it ourselves from scratch.
ML: Were you inspired by any board games in particular?
JG: I think aesthetic-wise Clue. I've always kind of compared Escape the Night to Clue. I feel like Clue is kind of a boring game [and] I can only play it once every few years. I wanted the aesthetic of it because I love how the board looks in Clue and the vibe, but I wanted the gameplay to be something more complex and to have more variables for each time you play.
With the gameplay, we based it off of Escape the Night, as opposed to trying to fit it into a formula of another board game. The gameplay isn't really like any board game I've played.
ML: Are there any “easter eggs” for fans of the Escape the Night series that they should keep an eye out for when they're playing the game?
JC: I'm not sure if it's “easter eggs” necessarily, but I haven't revealed what all of the cards look like. All of the cards represent something that happened in the show. So the art on the card you'll definitely see images of things that were referenced, and now you have a visual to correlate that with, or they'll be actual replications from the show.
There will be a lot of things that they watch the show they'll spot for sure, like monsters and the clues they all match up with the show. [There are] some extra ones as well that we didn't get to put in the show, but got to put in the board game.
ML: Escape the Night had such loyal fans. Your Kickstarter was a massive success. You raised nearly 20x your target goal and blew through all of your stretch goals. How did that feel to see how quickly your fans were there to support your project?
JC: I was totally blown away. I really wasn't sure what to expect. That's why the goal was kind of low. You never really know. I did a Kickstarter back in 2013 for a web series that I was creating, but I wasn't sure exactly how a board game would do.
I was definitely blown away at how quickly we reached that goal and then it kept exceeding it. That's why we added stretch goals because it became something that was just constantly growing. We wanted to give back to the fan base that was so passionate about seeing this board game come to life. We wanted to expand upon it and now that we have the extra funding we can add cool elements to the board game.
ML: Do you have plans to create any other Escape the Night tie-ins?
JG: We've started with a season one board game [and] we would like to go chronologically and start working on a season two board game.