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John Bain
Born (1984-07-08) 8 July 1984 (age 30)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
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]

From 2005 to 2010, Bain ran World of Warcraft Radio, which got enough publicity to incite a reaction from Blizzard Entertainment, the developer and publisher of World of Warcraft. He was invited to the annual BlizzCon event in 2005 to provide coverage of the event, where he met Genna, an American woman whom he later married.[4] John also has a step-son, Orion.[5] After World of Warcraft Radio ended, Bain started, where he posted more general gaming content.[6]

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.[6]

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.[7]

In late April 2014, Bain released a VLOG announcing he had a precancerous mass in his colon; the first indications of bowel cancer, with which two of his grandparents had also been diagnosed.[8] A month after this VLOG, Bain revealed that he had "full blown cancer"[9] and later began chemotherapy and radiation treatment.[10]

In October 2014 John underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tissue from his body, at this time the surgery appears to have been a success[11]

Consumer advocacy[edit]

In October 2013, Wild Games Studio made a copyright claim against Bain's negative "WTF Is..." review of their game Day One: Garry's Incident, asking for it to be taken down as a copyright violation, despite having issued Bain with a review copy for the game, and use of copyrighted material for criticism being allowed under fair use.[12] Bain's follow-up video reacting to the takedown attracted press attention and leveled further criticism at Wild Games Studio,[13] and the studio retracted the takedown request.[12]

Bain became involved in the Gamergate controversy after discovering that a Youtube vlogger had received a DMCA notice for a video in which Zoe Quinn was discussed.[14] He warned that the DMCA notice would bring about the Streisand Effect. Although neutral, he was subsequently attacked by Phil Fish and others on Twitter.[14] Bain later discussed the ethical and professional concerns relevant to the video games press,[15] and has stated that he supports Gamergate as a consumer movement.[16] He holds that the harassment associated with Gamergate is "almost universally performed by lone online psychos. More often than not they are looking to provoke conflict of some sort, [and] if they can get you and a group fighting over something that frankly neither of you had any part in to begin with, that's a great victory."[17]

In October 2014, whereas traditional video game review outlets were unable to obtain early access to the video game Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Bain revealed that Youtube vloggers had been offered early access to the game in exchange for agreeing to a restrictive contract which required them to be positive about it.[18][19][20][21] FTC guidelines require paid promotional deals on Youtube to be disclosed.[22][23]

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. Bain's most popular videos are his "WTF is...?" series.[6] He has been described by Will Porter of Eurogamer as a "champion of indie gaming" and YouTube's foremost "love him or hate him" personality. The same critic suggested Bain's online popularity is due to his voice having a "tone of authority",[1] while Bain himself believes that his candour and personality are key to his success.[6] Totalbiscuit has over 150 000 followers as a Steam curator.[24]

He was a runner-up in the Golden Joystick 2012, in category Greatest YouTube Gamer.[25] He has been recognized on several prominent gaming sites including Technorati[26] and Eurogamer.[27] 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.[28] In 2014, he was an entrant in MCVUK's Brit List.[6] TotalBiscuit has been nominated for a Shorty Award.[29]


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."[30]

In August 2012, Bain offered to sponsor CranK, formerly a member of team SlayerS, to compete in the MLG Pro Circuit 2012-Summer Championship.[31]

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.[32]

The current Axiom roster consists of AxCrank, AxAlicia, AxHeart, AxRyung, and AxImpact.[33] They banded together with Team Acer to form the team Axiom-Acer, to participate in the GOMTV Global StarCraft II Team League.[34]

On 25 February 2013, Axiom announced as their first community sponsor, until 20 October 2013 where the sponsorship was confirmed ended.[35][36] On 17 March 2013, Bain and Axiom announced Sony Online Entertainment and their game Planetside 2 as the team's first premier sponsor.[37] WASD Keyboards became their latest sponsor, as well as their first peripheral sponsor, on 31 May 2013.[38]

On 16 August 2013, Genna, using the username "Intricacy" announced, on the website Teamliquid, her retirement from Team Axiom thus giving Bain full ownership.[39] This came days after a controversial blog post made by Genna containing private conversions over a european Team League that was planned to be run by a sponsor TaKeTV.[40]


  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 (23 June 2012). "Real Talk with TotalBiscuit". Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  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. ^ a b c d e Calvin, Alex (2014-05-06). "WTF is... TotalBiscuit?". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  7. ^ "PlanetSide 2 teams up with TotalBiscuit". 31 May 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Bain, John. "VLOG – My Little Problem". YouTube. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Bain, John. "Twitter / Totalbiscuit". Twitter. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Bain, John. "VLOG – How are things progressing ?". Youtube. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b - "Day One: Garry's Incident Devs Accused of Censoring Bad Review". Accessed 31 July 2014
  13. ^ Masnick, Mike. "Copyright As Censorship Again: Game Developer Takes Down Scathing YouTube Review". Accessed 31 July
  14. ^ a b Kain, Erik (2014-09-04). "GamerGate: A Closer Look At The Controversy Sweeping Video Games". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  15. ^ Bain, John (2014-09-09). "I will now ramble about games media for just under 30 minutes". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  16. ^ Kain, Erik. "#GamerGate Is Not A Hate Group, It's A Consumer Movement". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  17. ^ Diver, Mike (2014-10-20). "GamerGate Hate Affects Both Sides, So How About We End It?". Retrieved 2014-10-21. 
  18. ^ Grayson, Nathan (2014-10-08). "The Messy Story Behind YouTubers Taking Money For Game Coverage". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  19. ^ Kain, Erik (2014-10-08). "'Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor' Paid Branding Deals Should Have #GamerGate Up In Arms". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  20. ^ Parfitt, Ben (2014-10-07). "YouTubers required to be positive in return for Shadow of Mordor review code, report claims". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  21. ^ Sterling, Jim (2014-10-06). "Shadiness of Mordor". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  22. ^ Usher, William (2014-10-13). "Shadow of Mordor Review Contract Causes Ruckus in the Gaming Industry". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  23. ^ kidsleepy (2014-10-06). "Steam and Twitch now requiring disclosure of sponsored content". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  24. ^ Kisela, Glenn (2014-09-25). "Steam Curators – Filling a gap left by the GamerGate fallout?". Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  25. ^ "Golden Joystick Award Winners 2012". Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  26. ^ "An Interview With John "TotalBiscuit" Bain – Technorati Gaming". 12 September 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  27. ^ Porter, Will (14 November 2012). "The cult of TotalBiscuit • Articles •". Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Battle Royale 2012 results page". Retrieved 7 November 2012. [dead link]
  29. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ "TotalBiscuit to sponsor BlinG". Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  31. ^ "Crank Offered Sponsorship from TotalBiscuit for MLG Raleigh". Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  32. ^ "Definitive esports news article- Axiom esports announced". Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  33. ^ "Axiom Player Roster on Liquipedia". Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  34. ^ "Axiom to participate in the GSTL". Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  35. ^ Axiom eSports is now sponsored by on YouTube
  36. ^ "Twitter / Sponsorship with ends". 20 October 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "Axiom announces Planetside 2 as premier sponsor". 18 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  38. ^ "Axiom announces WASD Keyboards as sponsor". 31 May 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  39. ^ Bain, Genna "Intricacy" (16 August 2013). "GLHF". Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  40. ^ Bain, Genna "Intricacy" (14 August 2013). "AxiomHate 2013 : The ATC Edition". Retrieved 14 October 2014. 

External links[edit]