John Bain (game commentator)

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John Bain
Born (1984-07-08) 8 July 1984 (age 30)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Residence Concord, North Carolina, U.S.
Nationality British
Other names TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit, TotalHalibut
Occupation Professional eSports caster, Video Game commentator and Video Game critic.
Known for eSports commentary, Video Game first impressions
Spouse(s) Genna Bain

John Bain (born 8 July 1984), commonly known by his online alias TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit and TotalHalibut is a British gaming commentator and critic on YouTube, and is known for being a professional caster for games such as StarCraft II and PlanetSide 2, as well as for his regular gaming commentary videos. According to Eurogamer, his video commentary on newly developed indie games and analysis of gaming news has led to him having a cult-like following.[1] Bain is renowned for his candid, first impression critique on popular video games, where he has voiced strong approval for consumer protection in the gaming industry; frequently denouncing wrongful censorship. On 13 March 2013, he hit the milestone of one million subscribers on his YouTube channel, for which he released a half hour long video talking about many aspects of his life.[2]


Bain's broadcasting career started off when he was studying law at De Montfort University, where he hosted an extreme metal music show.[3] In 2005, Bain produced the 'Blue Plz' podcast, which he described as being "the most popular solo hosted show about World of Warcraft on the internet." Bain also ran "WoW Radio", an internet podcast website dedicated to World of Warcraft, from 2005 to 2010. The radio got enough publicity to incite a reaction from Blizzard Entertainment, the developer and publisher of World of Warcraft, which invited him to the annual BlizzCon event in 2005 to provide coverage of the event.

During the 2005 BlizzCon event, Bain met Genna, an American woman whom he later married.[4] John also has a step-son, Orion.[5]

In 2010 during the height of the Great Recession, Bain was sacked by his employer, a financial advisory company. His unemployment coincided with the beta release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and Bain started producing and uploading videos of himself talking over gameplay on YouTube hoping to earn money through the website's ad-revenue system. In the following weeks, popularity of Bain's videos skyrocketed. A StarCraft 2 commentator by the online alias of HuskyStarcraft approached Bain and invited him to The Game Station (now Polaris), a network of gaming channels on YouTube.

In late April 2014, Bain released a VLOG announcing he had a precancerous mass in his colon; the first indications of bowel cancer, something of which two of his grandparents had also been diagnosed with.[6] A month after this VLOG, Bain revealed that he had "full blown cancer"[7] and later began chemotherapy and radiation treatment.[8]

World of Warcraft[edit]

"Totalhalibut" (as his main character name was within World of Warcraft) frequented the Mazrigos EU server, leading raids for (among others) NWO (New World Order) and Lethe. During his active time as a World of Warcraft player, Totalhalibut would feature prominently on WCradio, as well as release various videos, some of which featured him exposing a cheating character/account and playing around with them.

Notable series[edit]

WTF Is...[edit]

WTF Is... is a series where Bain gives his first impressions of video games that have been recently released, explaining what the games are about and showing viewers gameplay footage. The series' music was composed and performed by Charlie Parra del Riego.

There are different iterations of this series on occasion, such as WTF Is...Free Edition and WTF Is...WifeTF Edition, among others. These videos follow the same style as the original WTF Is... series, but with some minor tweaks such as playing a free game or with his wife, Genna Bain.[9]

The Mailbox[edit]

The Mailbox is a series of videos by Bain where he answers viewer-submitted questions and gives his thoughts and opinions on them. It is the direct successor to Azeroth Daily, replacing the World of Warcraft-centric show after John lost interest in the game. The audio for the videos consists of him reading the questions and giving answers while recent gameplay footage is played in the background. The series was discontinued in October 2012 at episode 200, when Bain decided most questions became repetitive in the way that they were becoming alternative forms of questions that were already answered in previous episodes. This series was replaced by Content Patch. However, on 12 April 2014, Bain announced via his Twitter that the series would resume.[10] The series' 201st episode was uploaded on 23 April 2014.

Terraria with Jesse Cox[edit]

On 22 May 2011, Bain began uploading a Let's Play of the game Terraria with Jesse Cox as the co-caster with whom he has become close friends. Bain has recently said that he hates the series, mainly due to the fact of its spawning "terrible" memes and catchphrases (for example "That's what he said about her!").

At The Game Station podcast panel at PAX it was said during the Q&A section that the reason they stopped doing it is because they are going to be doing a new series based on a new game called Starbound.[11]

It was verified by both Bain and Jesse Cox that their Terraria series would be continued with a new season when the new Terraria 1.2 update got its release on 1 October 2013.[12] On 22 September he announced that the series would resume even sooner than previously announced and the following day mentioned that recording had begun.[13][14]

Content Patch[edit]

Content Patch is Bain's topical gaming news show, where he rounds up the day's events in the gaming scene and gives his opinion and insight on stories. The first episode aired on 30 October 2012, after the conclusion of his previous series, The Mailbox. On the 15 April edition of Content Patch, the OC ReMix Track of the Day feature was added, closing out every show with video game music arrangements spanning a wide variety of games and genres. During Pax Bain does a spin off show called Content Pax that overrides Content Patch, which only includes information gained or released at Pax.

The Co-Optional Podcast[edit]

Bain is one of the hosts of The Co-Optional Podcast (previously named The Game Station Podcast), a gaming news and discussion podcast featuring members of the Polaris YouTube network, along with fellow YouTubers Jesse Cox and Brooke "Dodger" Leigh Lawson. The podcast usually features one guest host. Notable guests from outside the Polaris network have included James Portnow, Jim Sterling, Matt Lees, Joe "Angry Joe" Vargas, Larry Bundy Jr, Felicia Day, and Kyle Bosman.

Discontinued series[edit]

Initially called "An early look at", "Alpha Strike" is a series in which Bain takes a look at video games that are in alpha/beta and are too early in the development process to fully critique.[15] The term "Alpha strike" is a reference to the MechWarrior series.[16]

From early December 2010 to Spring of 2011 TotalBiscuit had a series called Azeroth Daily, a daily weekday show about World of Warcraft. which showed news, The Daily Grind,'The Daily Blues'; a portion dedicated to finding interesting Blue Posts by community managers on the US and EU sites for World of Warcraft, the Mailbox where he would answer user submitted questions about World of Warcraft. There were also rotation features throughout the week, which were, in no particular order, Court of Lore, Achievement Hog, Raid or Die, Machinimonday and Mod your WoW. There was also a segment named 'Postcards from Azeroth', in which he asked the viewers for screenshots taken within the world of Azeroth based on a topic, and sent to his FB page in the allocated spot.

Total Digestive was a weekly video series by Bain, rounding up all of the videos he has uploaded in the past week. The first episode aired on 28 April 2013.[17] Bain tweeted that the video series was part of an effort to improve the way that the channel provided content.[18] The series was discontinued after three episodes, Bain saying that the series was "not well received" and he did not consider it worth the time and effort.[19]

Dota 2 - Hyper-incompetent Single Draft Disaster was a series of videos where Bain plays the "single draft" mode of Dota 2. He is restricted to a choice of three of the game's heroes. As well as never playing the same hero twice, Bain would only use the default build put into the game by Dota 2's developer Valve, or one of the many user-created guides. Being able to only play a hero once means the series would end at some point (although there are over 100 heroes).

Why do I own... was a spin-off of the WTF Is series. Instead of giving his impressions on games that are either recently released or close to release, he gave his first impressions on video games he currently owns, but has never played, in his Steam library. On 9 March 2013, Bain tweeted that Why do I own... would be stopped, because it is "inherently flawed" and that he has "come up with a better idea to replace it".[20] Five days later, on 14 March, he announced in his vlog that the replacement series could show alternatives to new games.[21] Only three Why do I own... videos were produced before it was stopped.[22]


Bain partnered with Sony Online Entertainment for the 2012 E3 event where he broadcast a show of attendees playing PlanetSide 2 at the SOE booth.[23] He also broadcast the game at PAX 2012 and commentated the SOE Live Auraxian Challenge tournament in Las Vegas.

Outside of Planetside 2 he has also casted for major Starcraft II events such as MLG, IGN, Dreamhack, WCS and Multiplay. He has also done casting for Hearthstone tournaments such as the annual tournament at Blizzcon.

Popularity and accolades[edit]

The main source of his publicity comes from his primary YouTube channel where he posts what he describes as "variety gaming content", as part of the YouTube gaming network Polaris (formerly TheGameStation). He has been described by a Eurogamer journalist as being "champion of indie gaming" and YouTube's foremost "love him or hate him" personality. The same critic suggested his online popularity is due to his voice having a "tone of authority".[1]

He was a runner-up in the Golden Joystick 2012, in category Greatest YouTube Gamer.[24] He has been recognized on several prominent gaming sites including Technorati[25] and Eurogamer.[26] Bain won the 2012 Battle Royale organised by King of the Web and donated his $47,000 winnings to the non-profit organisation Charity: Water.[27]


Team Axiom Logo

In February 2012, Bain announced that he would be sponsoring team-dignitas player BlinG, saying: "The StarCraft community has given a lot to me and in turn I've had the opportunity to give back with SHOUTcraft Invitational. Now it is time to take it one step further and directly support a UK talent that I believe has the potential to be one of the best foreigners in the world."[28]

In August 2012, Bain offered to sponsor CranK, formerly a member of team SlayerS, to compete in the MLG Pro Circuit 2012-Summer Championship.[29]

On 26 September 2012 Bain and Genna announced the creation of Team Axiom, with Bain and HuskyStarCraft as the teams sponsors and CranK, now AxCrank, as their first player.[30]

The current Axiom roster consists of AxCrank, AxAlicia, AxHeart, AxRyung, and AxImpact.[31] They banded together with Team Acer to form the team Axiom-Acer, to participate in the GOMTV Global StarCraft II Team League.[32]

On 25 February 2013, Axiom announced as their first community sponsor, until 20 October 2013 where the sponsorship was confirmed ended.[33][34] On 17 March 2013, Bain and Axiom announced Sony Online Entertainment and their game Planetside 2 as the team's first premier sponsor.[35] WASD Keyboards became their latest sponsor, as well as their first peripheral sponsor, on 31 May 2013.[36]


  1. ^ a b Porter, Will. "The cult of TotalBiscuit". Euro Gamer. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Bain, John. "1 Million Subscribers Vlog". Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  3. ^ JP McDaniel (2012-06-23). "Real Talk with TotalBiscuit". Retrieved 2013-04-07. 
  4. ^ Bain, Genna. "YouTube Playlist Depicting Genna's Adventures Living With John". YouTube. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Bain, Genna. "Orion Plays StarCraft 2". YouTube. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Bain, John. "VLOG - My Little Problem". YouTube. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Bain, John. "Twitter / Totalbiscuit". Twitter. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Bain, John. "VLOG - How are things progressing ?". Youtube. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Genna Bain's YouTube channel". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  10. ^ "Twitter / Totalbiscuit: The Mailbox is returning". 2014-04-12. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  11. ^ "Terraria on indefinite hiatus as TotalBiscuit mentions Starbound"
  12. ^ "Twitter / Totalbiscuit: Confirmed: We will restart". 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  13. ^ "Twitter / Totalbiscuit: Sorry guys, Terraria won't". 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  14. ^ "Twitter / Totalbiscuit: 90 minutes of awful Terraria". 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  15. ^ "Alpha Strike - Viscera: Cleanup Detail". YouTube. 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  16. ^ "Alpha strike (Tactic) - BattleTechWiki". 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  17. ^ "Total Digestive - Episode 1". YouTube. 2013-04-28. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  18. ^ "Twitter / Totalbiscuit: As part of continuing efforts". Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  19. ^ "Reddit / Total Digestive died?". Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  20. ^ Why do I own is an inherently flawed series, I've come up with a better idea to replace it Totalbiscuit on Twitter. 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
  21. ^ VLOG - 1 million subscribers on YouTube
  22. ^ Why do I own… playlist on YouTube
  23. ^ "PlanetSide 2 teams up with TotalBiscuit". 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  24. ^ "Golden Joystick Award Winners 2012". Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  25. ^ "An Interview With John "TotalBiscuit" Bain - Technorati Gaming". 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  26. ^ Porter, Will (2012-11-14). "The cult of TotalBiscuit • Articles •". Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  27. ^ "Battle Royale 2012 results page". Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  28. ^ "TotalBiscuit to sponsor BlinG". Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  29. ^ "Crank Offered Sponsorship from TotalBiscuit for MLG Raleigh". Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  30. ^ "Definitive esports news article- Axiom esports announced". Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  31. ^ "Axiom Player Roster on Liquipedia". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  32. ^ "Axiom to participate in the GSTL". Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  33. ^ Axiom eSports is now sponsored by on YouTube
  34. ^ "Twitter / Sponsorship with ends". 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  35. ^ "Axiom announces Planetside 2 as premier sponsor". 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  36. ^ "Axiom announces WASD Keyboards as sponsor". 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 

External links[edit]