John Peter Bain
8 July 1984
Spennymoor, County Durham, England
|Died||24 May 2018 (aged 33)|
|Cause of death||Bowel cancer|
|Awards||Trending Gamer (2014)|
John Peter Bain (8 July 1984 – 24 May 2018), better known as TotalBiscuit (or sometimes The Cynical Brit or TotalHalibut), was an English video gaming commentator and game critic on YouTube. He was known for his role in professional shoutcasting and eSports, and also known for his gaming commentary audio work on WCradio.com. According to Eurogamer, he obtained a large following due to his video commentary on newly developed indie games and analysis of gaming news. Bain voiced strong support for consumer protection in the video gaming industry. In October 2015, Bain announced that he had terminal cancer that had spread to his liver. He continued to critique games after the diagnosis, announcing his retirement only a few weeks ahead of his death in May 2018.
From 2005 to 2010, Bain ran World of Warcraft Radio, a popular World of Warcraft fan radio station that received special acknowledgment and recognition from Blizzard Entertainment, the developers and publishing team of World of Warcraft. Bain was invited to the annual BlizzCon event in 2005 to provide coverage of the event, where he met Genna Bain, his future wife and fellow YouTube personality. After Bain's tenure at World of Warcraft Radio, Bain began Cynicalbrit.com, where he posted more generalised gaming content.
In 2010 during the height of the Great Recession, Bain was laid off at his job at a financial advisory company. Bain's unemployment coincided with the beta release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and he started producing videos of himself talking over gameplay on YouTube, hoping to earn money through the website's ad-revenue system. In the following weeks, the popularity of Bain's videos skyrocketed. A StarCraft 2 commentator named HuskyStarcraft approached Bain and invited him to The Game Station, a network of gaming channels on YouTube (now Polaris, a subnetwork of Maker Studios).
Cancer diagnosis and death
In late April 2014, Bain announced he had a precancerous mass in his colon, the first indications of bowel cancer, a condition with which two of his grandparents had also been diagnosed. Within the month, Bain revealed that he had "full blown cancer" and was beginning chemotherapy treatments.
Bain reported in April 2015 that a CT scan showed a complete remission of the cancer. However, by October 2015, a newer CT scan showed that while the bowel cancer had been eliminated, the cancer had metastasised to his liver and was determined inoperable, with his doctors giving him a two-to-three-year life expectancy. Bain announced the disbanding of his eSports team Axiom upon this news. By January 2016, Bain had also decided to distance himself from social media, while still focusing on making his game critique videos.
In October 2017, Bain appeared on the H3 podcast, during which he discussed at length the current state of his cancer. He described his condition as "stable" (meaning the cancer was still present, but not spreading), and that it was stage IV cancer. On 22 November, Bain tweeted that his chemotherapy had stopped working, but that there were other types he could try. He also noted that the cancer had not spread, but that its growth had started again.
In mid-April 2018, Bain was hospitalised for extreme back pain, from which the doctors discovered that the cancer was growing, applying pressure on his spine. While he underwent a clinical trial to combat the spread, the doctors found that the cancer had become too resistant to medication and conventional chemotherapy would be ineffective; he was also informed that his liver was failing. The doctors transferred him to palliative care with the option to resume clinical treatment if a trial compatible with his failing liver became available. Because of this, knowing he did not have long left to live, Bain announced he was fully retiring from game criticism, believing he was no longer capable of performing his work at a level that would satisfy himself and his fans. He planned to continue his Co-Optional podcast with his wife Genna, with plans for her to take over the podcast in the event of his death.
On 24 May 2018, Bain's wife Genna announced through both her own and her husband's Twitter accounts that Bain had fallen into a hepatic coma and died. On 9 September 2018, Blizzard Entertainment created a commemorative bundle in honor of Bain, with all sales profits going directly to Genna and their son, Orion.
Origin of online nicknames
Bain stated that the name TotalBiscuit was a quote taken from the Terry Pratchett novel Carpe Jugulum: "Besides, thought Agnes, I know for a fact there's people out there called Syphilidae Wilson and Yodel Lightley and Total Biscuit."
The moniker Cynical Brit came from the original introduction to his Blue Plz! radio broadcast: "Ladies and gentlemen, do not be alarmed, a Cynical Brit has been allowed on the air with a microphone. You will listen or the kitten we have hostage will be forced to fight a giant badger. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Blue Plz! Enjoy."
TotalHalibut was Bain's online name in PlanetSide: "I started off in the Halibuts which was our old guild from PlanetSide...that's where TotalHalibut comes from. Everyone who used to play in the Halibuts, Halibuts used to be a guild in PlanetSide that anyone could join, and, you basically, you made an alt to play in it and you had to have the word halibut in your name to play."
The main source of Bain's publicity was his primary YouTube channel, where he posted what he described as "variety gaming content" as part of the YouTube gaming network Polaris. His most popular videos belonged to his "WTF is...?" series, a series of first impressions on video games. He was 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 was due to his voice having a "tone of authority", while Bain himself believed that his candour and personality were key to his success. Prior to his death in May 2018, Bain had over 2.2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.
TotalBiscuit was the top Steam curator for several years, with over 800,000 followers at the time of his death. Because of his popularity, Valve, which manages Steam, invited Bain and another gaming critic, Jim Sterling, to their headquarters to help discuss how to improve the Steam's storefront and discovery tools in 2017.
Apart from his "WTF is...?" series, Bain hosted the "Content Patch" programme (started from 30 October 2012, ended 15 July 2016) in which he addressed gaming news and comments. Bain also hosted The Game Station Podcast and was a host of the Co-Optional Podcast, where he discussed games and gaming news with YouTube personalities Jesse Cox and Brooke "Dodger" Thorne along with a guest. It was live-streamed every Tuesday on his Twitch channel.
In October 2013, Wild Games Studio made a copyright claim against Bain's negative "WTF Is... ?" critique of their game Day One: Garry's Incident, which resulted in the video being taken down, despite having issued Bain with a review copy for the game, and use of copyrighted material for criticism being allowed under fair use. Bain's follow-up video responding to the takedown attracted press attention and leveled further criticism against Wild Games Studio, which resulted in the studio retracting its request.
In July 2014, an online debate about the ethics of YouTube gaming channels was sparked as a result of a survey revealing that some YouTube vloggers received monetary compensation from game developers or publishers in return for recording videos of their games. In response to this discussion, Bain announced on Twitter that he would "be clearly disclosing promotional videos in a splash screen at the start of the video". Disclaimers had previously appeared in the description fields of his videos, but Bain felt this was no longer good enough because YouTube videos that are embedded or that are displayed with certain apps omit that information.
Alongside his own Steam Curators channel, Bain founded the "Framerate Police" Curator group, intended to review games which reportedly had been locked to a 30 frames-per-second frame rate and determine if a higher frame rate was possible, as higher frame rate games typically look better and may be more responsive to player input. Bain said of the group's purpose "One of the biggest frustrations for people like that is when a game prevents them from getting the performance their hardware is capable of due to arbitrary limitations within the software itself and one of the most obvious and jarring that has such a big impact on how a game plays, is a 30 frames per second (or lower) lock."
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. Federal Trade Commission rules require paid promotional deals on YouTube to be disclosed.
Bain became involved in the Gamergate controversy after discovering that a YouTube vlogger had received a DMCA notice for a video in which Zoë Quinn was discussed, arguing that removing the video would cause another instance of the Streisand effect. Bain subsequently discussed the ethical and professional concerns relevant to the video games press, and stated that he believed that many of the ethical concerns raised during the controversy were valid or deserved to be addressed. He stated that the harassment associated with Gamergate was the result of lone actors who wanted to provoke conflict among the people involved in the controversy. Bain interviewed Stephen Totilo of Kotaku about the Gamergate controversy in general, and specifically about Gamergate supporters' concerns with regard to Kotaku's ethics and professionalism.
On 3 April 2017, Gearbox Publishing announced a partnership with G2A for exclusive collector's editions of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, to be created and sold by G2A. Bain was critical of this move, citing G2A's negative press coverage as well as accusations made against the company, and threatened to withhold covering Bulletstorm, or any other Gearbox game, unless Gearbox cancelled the deal. On 6 April 2017, one day before Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition was due for release, Gearbox published a list of ultimatums made together with Bain for G2A to accept, or else it would back out of the deal. The ultimatums focused on G2A's Shield service, an open API for game developers, and G2A's payment system. The following day, Gearbox Publishing publicly announced that it was ending its cooperation with G2A, due to a lack of response from the company concerning the ultimatums. G2A responded to the assertions on 10 April 2017 stating, "All of the requests made of G2A.COM in the ultimatum have in fact long been part of our marketplace", and ascribed the problems to the unfamiliarities that Bain and Gearbox have in regard to how G2A operates its marketplace.
In February 2012, Bain announced that he would be sponsoring Team Dignitas player BlinG: "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."
On 26 September 2012, Bain and his wife Genna announced the creation of Team Axiom, with Bain and HuskyStarCraft as the team's sponsors and CranK, renamed to AxCrank at the time, as their first player. The group joined with Team Acer to form the team Axiom-Acer to participate in the GOMTV Global StarCraft II Team League. The Axiom roster consisted of AxCrank, AxAlicia, AxHeart and AxRyung.
On 15 October 2015, Bain announced the dissolution of Team Axiom because of the return of his cancer and a lack of recent success for the team.
Bain was a runner-up in the Golden Joystick 2012, in category Greatest YouTube Gamer. He has been recognised on several prominent gaming sites including Technorati and Eurogamer. Bain won the 2012 Battle Royale organised by King of the Web and donated his winnings to the non-profit organisation Charity: Water. In 2014, he was an entrant in MCV's Brit List. TotalBiscuit has been nominated for a Shorty Award. On 5 December 2014, Bain received a Fan's Choice The Game Award in the category "Trending Gamer". ESL in 2018 inducted Bain into the Esports Hall of Fame as the first ever non-player.
- JP McDaniel (23 June 2012). Real Talk with TotalBiscuit. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2013 – via YouTube.
- Bain, John. "Sorry, diagnosed dyspraxic with a step-son who as you probably know has adhd and aspergers. This is a topic I care deeply about". Twitter. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
- Bain, Genna. "YouTube Playlist Depicting Genna's Adventures Living With John". YouTube. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Calvin, Alex (6 May 2014). "WTF is... TotalBiscuit?". Archived from the original on 28 February 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Bembenek, Mike (5 March 2014). "The biggest celebrities of eSports". Red Bull eSports. Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
- "PlanetSide 2 teams up with TotalBiscuit". 31 May 2011. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- Jaworski, Michelle (30 April 2014). ""I almost got myself killed"—YouTube star TotalBiscuit opens up about cancer". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Tach, Dave (23 May 2014). "Web broadcaster John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain diagnosed with cancer". Polygon. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Votta, Rae (17 October 2015). "YouTube gamer TotalBiscuit reveals inoperable cancer, disbands esports team". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Klepek, Patrick (25 January 2016). "TotalBiscuit Quits Social Media With Emotional Goodbye". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Bain, John [@Totalbiscuit] (23 September 2016). "My cancer had mutated. My oncologist figured out a targeted treatment for it. 2 months on, tumor size is down over 50%" (Tweet). Retrieved 21 April 2017 – via Twitter.
- Bain, John [@Totalbiscuit] (23 September 2016). "To put that into context, I had a 5cm long tumor in my liver. Its now 2cm and shrinking, after 4 treatments" (Tweet). Retrieved 21 April 2017 – via Twitter.
- H3 Podcast #35 - TotalBiscuit. H3 Podcast. 21 October 2017. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017 – via YouTube.
- Bain, John [@Totalbiscuit] (22 November 2017). "Yeah, this chemo has stopped working. Was gonna happen eventually. Thankfully there are more types, switching to another type. Not great. Not in another organ but, growth started again" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Bain, John (1 May 2018). "[Official] - TotalBiscuits future". Reddit. Archived from the original on 1 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- Schreier, Jason (1 May 2018). "Game Critic Totalbiscuit Says He's Retiring: 'I Don't Have Long Left'". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- Murdock, Jason (1 May 2015). "Totalbiscuit Cancer Update: Youtuber John Bain Liver Failing, Warns Fans 'I Don't Have Long Left'". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 1 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Grayson, Nathan (24 May 2018). "Game Critic Totalbiscuit Has Died". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "YouTube star TotalBiscuit dies aged 33". BBC. 25 May 2018. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- Video Game Critic John 'Total Biscuit' Bain Passes Away – Game Rant Archived 27 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Gamerant.com (1984-07-08). Retrieved on 2018-05-27.
- "Commemorative Bundle". Starcraft2.com. Blizzard Entertainment. 9 September 2018. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
- Burgar, Charles (17 April 2020). "Doom Eternal: The 10 Best Secrets You Likely Missed". TheGamer. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
- TotalBiscuit (3 October 2012). "Ask TotalBiscuit Anything - Director's Cut - Part 3". YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- Zejgar (14 February 2013). "Blue Plz! - Season 1 Episode 1 - Part 1: "The world wide web world"". YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- wowcrendor (5 June 2015). "Fishing with Crendor Ep 4: Totalbiscuit | WoWcrendor". YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- Porter, Will (14 November 2012). "The cult of TotalBiscuit". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- McWhertor, Michael (24 May 2018). "Game critic John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain dies at 33". Polygon. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Top Steam Curators". Archived from the original on 22 January 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Chalk, Andy (3 April 2017). "Valve is revamping the way Steam recommends games". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Skipper, Ben (16 October 2015). "YouTuber TotalBiscuit diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer, given 2-3 years to live". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Dale, Laura Kate (16 August 2017). "TotalBiscuit on Dealing with the Hate". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Ушел из жизни Джон TotalBiscuit Бейн". cybersport.ru (in Russian). 25 May 2018. Archived from the original on 30 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Masnick, Mike (21 October 2013). "Copyright As Censorship Again: Game Developer Takes Down Scathing YouTube Review". Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Slabaugh, Brett (21 October 2013). "Day One: Garry's Incident Devs Accused of Censoring Bad Review". Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Usher, William (20 October 2013). "Developers Try Legally Blocking Negative Criticism Of Day One: Garry's Incident". Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Rose, Mike. "Pay for Play: The ethics of paying for YouTuber coverage". Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Wawro, Alex. "Prominent YouTuber makes paid-for video disclosure more explicit". Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Grayson, Nathan (23 September 2015). "The Story Behind Steam's 'Framerate Police'". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Grayson, Nathan (8 October 2014). "The Messy Story Behind YouTubers Taking Money For Game Coverage". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Kain, Erik (8 October 2014). "'Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor' Paid Branding Deals Should Have #GamerGate Up In Arms". Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Parfitt, Ben (7 October 2014). "YouTubers required to be positive in return for Shadow of Mordor review code, report claims". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Sterling, Jim (6 October 2014). "Shadiness of Mordor". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Usher, William (13 October 2014). "Shadow of Mordor Review Contract Causes Ruckus in the Gaming Industry". Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- kidsleepy (6 October 2014). "Steam and Twitch now requiring disclosure of sponsored content". Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Romero, Aja (20 August 2014). "The sexist crusade to destroy game developer Zoe Quinn". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 23 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- Auerbach, David (27 August 2014). "Letter to a Young Male Gamer". Slate. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Bain, John (9 September 2014). "I will now ramble about games media for just under 30 minutes". Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Ethics in Games Media: Stephen Totilo of Kotaku comes to the table to discuss. TotalBiscuit. 29 October 2014. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2014 – via YouTube.
- #GamerGate: TotalBiscuit on Ethics, Was Offered Free Stuff for Reviews. The David Pakman Show. 30 October 2014. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014 – via YouTube.
- Diver, Mike (20 October 2014). "GamerGate Hate Affects Both Sides, So How About We End It?". Vice. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- "Gearbox Publishing and G2A.COM team up on a collector's edition of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition" (Press release). Gamasutra. 3 April 2017. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- Wawro, Alex (6 April 2017). "Gearbox partners with G2A, then vows to back out unless G2A takes steps to fight fraud". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- Hall, Charlie (7 April 2017). "G2A's relationship with Gearbox ends with the launch of Bulletstorm remake". Polygon. Archived from the original on 8 April 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- Matulef, Jeffrey (10 April 2017). "G2A responds to Gearbox's withdrawal and TotalBiscuit's demands". Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- "TotalBiscuit to sponsor BlinG". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Crank Offered Sponsorship from TotalBiscuit for MLG Raleigh". Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Definitive esports news article- Axiom esports announced". Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Axiom to participate in the GSTL". Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- "Axiom comes to an end. on AxiomEsports". Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Golden Joystick Award Winners 2012". Archived from the original on 23 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "An Interview With John "TotalBiscuit" Bain – Technorati Gaming". Technorati.com. 12 September 2011. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- "Battle Royale 2012 results page". Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "TotalBiscuit". shortyawards.com. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "The Game Awards Nominees 2014". Archived from the original on 14 November 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain to be inducted into Esports Hall of Fame at ESL One Hamburg 2018 as first non-player". Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- "TOTALBISCUIT – Esports Hall".
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: TotalBiscuit|