John Bain, more commonly known by his username TotalBiscuit, or by the monicker The Cynical Brit (July 8, 1984 - May 24, 2018) was a British YouTube commentator on gaming and the games industry, a professional Starcraft II commentator, the former owner of Axiom eSports (now closed) and was part of the Polaris Network. Following a diagnosis of colon cancer in April 2014, Bain continued his work as a games critic all the way up until a month before his death from bowel cancer in May 2018.
John began broadcasting when he was just 13 years old and was a founding member and beta-tester for Live365 , John went on to become the Head of Specialist Music at his University’s radio station Demon FM and host a prime-time extreme metal show after which he took his talents to the realm of talk radio, hosting the groundbreaking World of Warcraft show “Blue Plz”, which is still the most popular solo-hosted WoW show on the internet. Bain spent five years working on WoW Radio with the likes of Mark Turpin, four of which he spent in the role of managing director of the station. It was during this time that he became friends with Jesse Cox when Jesse entered a competition called "WoW Idol", in which contestants had to make their own song or a cover of an existing song based on World of Warcraft. Jesse won third place in the contest with "Raid With Me", a cover of "Take on Me" by A-ha. Following his stint at WoW Radio, John decided to take his rigorous standards, work ethic and extensive experience and apply them to a new theatre, and thus “The Cynical Brit ” was born. Much like the Yogscast, TotalBiscuit found early success on YouTube making videos of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm beta. He became an early member of The Game Station network (later known as Polaris) with other popular gaming YouTubers, such as Dodger and Jesse Cox, alongside whom he produced The Game Station Podcast (renamed The Co-Optional Podcast following the network name change). In April 2014 Bain announced that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and was beginning chemotherapy. On October 15, 2015, John announced that his colon cancer had spread to his liver and was terminal. By January 2017 his cancer had regressed and was, at the time, considered curable . In April 2018, four years after his initial diagnosis, John Bain announced his retirement due to failing health; he passed away on the 24th of May 2018.
- Turps once made a song called Buff Up based on World of Warcraft which featured John as a guest singer.
- TotalBiscuit joined Simon, Lewis and Duncan (then known as Lalna) on their videos through the Cataclysm version of the Deadmines dungeon in World of Warcraft.
- John was the guest host of the Yogscast's playthrough series of Magicka with Lewis and Simon.
- TotalBiscuit appeared indirectly in Shadow of Israphel; his grave can be found in the Mistral City graveyard, bearning the epitaph "He was here once, we swear", a joking reference to the fact that he refused to make Minecraft videos.
- He was also added in as a NPC during Granny Bacon's Funeral and he appeared at the livestream of said event in mid-2011.
- While producing The Game Station Podcast along with Jesse Cox and Dodger, he hosted several members of the Yogscast as guests on the show; including Simon (Episode 6) and Martyn Littlewood (Episode 24 - at the time Martyn was a Yogscast affiliate but not an official member).
- Following the renaming of The Game Station network to Polaris, TotalBiscuit founded a new podcast, The Co-Optional Podcast, intended to serve a a spritual successor to TGS. The podcast featured Sips (Episode 11), Strippin (Episode 22 and 99), and Martyn (Episode 99) as guests.
- In turn, John appeared in a one-off episode of Simple Simon and also appeared briefly during the 2011 Christmas Livestreams. For the Yogscast Honey Drive in 2012, TotalBiscuit held a livestream on the 20th of December in which he played XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Awesomenauts with Jesse Cox and MyndFlame on Team TGS against the Yogscast Mods Team of SteelCyro, Janedash and VeteranHarry. Team TGS were originally to face the Yogscast team but they chickened out according to John. The livestream finished 49 minutes early due to internet problems, the same time the stream normally played Area 11 music (11:11).
- Whilst he was still a regular of the Something Awful forums, TotalBiscuit occasionally listened to the YoGPoD, describing it as "quite funny" as revealed in his big December Q&A of 2013.
- In March 2015, after Simon negatively replied to TotalBiscuit on Twitter, for negatively criticizing a comic book, John commented on Simon's reply by saying "We have no working relationship with Yogscast anymore as Simons petty tweets should make clear." He followed this up by saying "That's a bridge they burned themselves. I can say no more because some of us actually respect our network disparagement clauses" and "As with many "former friends", they used my promotion to get ahead then conveniently forgot who their friends were later." Later, he clarified that Sips would still be a guest on his podcast a few weeks later, as "There is no beef there." The Yogscast have never officially commented on the apparent falling out between Simon and John.
- It was TotalBiscuit who first introduced and referred the Yogscast to The Game Station. Years later, in a subreddit post about TotalBiscuit's opinion on YogDiscovery, Lewis mentioned that because John referred Yogscast to TGS / Polaris, he received a small percentage of all revenue made across all of the content the Yogscast makes.
- On his Big December Q&A livestream, Bain claimed that he had contacted the Yogscast about being on for the Dairy Drive 2013, but he never got a response.
- John collaborated with PyrionFlax on a promotional video for the MOBA game Strife, from the developers of Heroes of Newerth.
- The following table shows the games and series John Bain has played or participated in. Please note that the Current list only contains series uploaded to the creators channel in the last 30 days.
- "I'm the archmage of the entire freaking universe!"
- "Angbadang, get on the treadmill."
- "Welcome to The Co-Optional Podcast: we occasionally talk about video games."
- "Shameful dispray!"
- "Husky, the most useless member of this podcast."
- "It's OK to like different things and not be a dick about it"
- "I have more youtube money than God! I can afford these games!"
- "U fuckin wot m8"
- "Your authority is not recognised in Fort Kickass!"
- "The hidden dick is the most dangerous dick!"
- "I have a hammer...Like, stop."
- "Morphine is good shit"
- "You can't see far in a shitstorm"
- John grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne but was born in Spennymoor. In a SoundCloud audio podcast, TotalBiscuit stated that "his father was a priest and his mother taught at the school". He suffered from dyspraxia. Prior to making YouTube videos, he worked at a financial advisor. John attended De Montfort University and studied Law from 2002 until 2005.
- John has mentioned in passing that he has a brother who works in the music industry. This is further elaborated on when he mentioned in his vlog on 29 July 2015 that he has a sister and brother who live in England.
- John met his wife, Genna, at Blizzcon 2010 and moved to America (more specifically, North Carolina) to live with her and his step-son Orion.
- John and Genna formerly owned their own Starcraft II team named Axiom eSports, but the team was closed in 2015.
- They owned two dogs: Kumo, a White Japanese Akita and Taichi, a Black & White Japanese Akita. They used to have a Red Shiba Inu, Maya, but had to give her away to friends due to a stress condition she'd developed. They also own two Bengal Cats called Loki and Freya.
- In a Q&A with Jesse Cox, TotalBiscuit stated that his original username was going to be 'SoulCake', which came from the Terry Pratchett book series, Discworld. He elected to change this however, as it was a common username at that time.
- TotalBiscuit's first trip abroad was to Toronto, Canada. Whilst there, he went to an EB Games store and, having read about it in a magazine, he persuaded an older kid to buy Dungeon Keeper for him. On another occasion, he faked glandular fever for 2 weeks to avoid school and keep playing it. At The Co-Optional Podcast Panel at PAX Prime 2013, a guest gave him a copy of the Canadian version of Dungeon Keeper as a memento.
- TotalBiscuit refused to upload any kind of Minecraft footage to his channel as he was afraid of what his channel would become, he stated that "That sort of thing really does turn your channel into a Minecraft channel" He did however, like to play the game whilst not working as stated in a mini interview with MalvinStudios, "Minecraft is a game I like to play and enjoy and not actually work".
- TotalBiscuit was ranked #1 on King of the Web in December 2011. He donated all of the prize money ($50,000) to charity. His King of the Web profile page can be found here.
- TotalBiscuit despised onions, to the point that he would send meals back if they contained them.
- A Korean newspaper translated John's username from 'TotalBiscuit' to 'SumCookie'. Jesse Cox then heard about it and made a joke about it on a TGS Podcast episode when TotalBiscuit wasn't present and it has stuck with John's fans since.
- He was a fan of Terry Pratchett's books.
- He once worked in the UK line of gaming shops, GAME.
- John was known to have a large amount of respect for the gaming website, Giant Bomb, and has even gone as far as to say that they are an inspiration to him.
- When one of the founding members of Giant Bomb, Ryan Davis, passed away in 2013 at the age of 34, John talked about how much Ryan's death affected him in a Content Patch episode covering the passing. John also played a remix of the Super Mario Bros. 3 World 3 Map theme at the end of the episode in honour of Ryan's outspoken love for the game.
- In his early years of media production, John was known to prefer doing podcasts and live streams than video as he states it is "much easier to do the former".
- John has specified many times that his username "TotalBiscuit" has no space between the "Total" & the "Biscuit". To this day, many people, mainly mainstream news websites, still punctuate John's username incorrectly, and this was poked at by John himself.
- John had a fear of flight and as a result, hated travelling by plane. This fear of flight came about after a plane he was on dropped by about 10,000 feet according to John on a Co-Optional Podcast episode.
- Whenever John had a facecam on, he always had the UK flag in the background. Whether this is because John was patriotic of the UK or just wanted a more interesting background than the back of his office is unknown.
- This flag was deliberately hung upside-down to frustrate his British viewers and due to the fact that John could not "be bothered to put it up the right way round" according to John himself on a Co-Optional Podcast episode.
- The flag was eventually taken down however, due to the fact that it came across as unprofessional and John was expanding more and more into the mainstream media, which is a much more professional environment according to John.
- John didn't have a driver's license; however, he did state in his Big December Q&A in 2013 that he was almost certainly going to get one (as well as a car) in 2014 so he doesn't have to rely on his wife, Genna to drive. Whether he actually did get a license and a car of his own or not is unknown.
- John was known to despise the game Spelunky for its many random instant death scenarios amongst other things.
- John was known to despise motion blur visual effects.
- He was a huge professional wrestling fan and has attended multiple wrestling live events, including WWE PPVs such as Money in the Bank, Survivor Series and Wrestlemania 32.
TotalBiscuit operated two different YouTube accounts: 'TotalHalibut' and 'TotalBiscuit'. TotalBiscuit is the channel where his general gaming content can be found like well-known video series like WTF is..., Content Patch and 15 Minutes of Game. He also regularly streamed Starcraft 2 in a series called "ShoutCraft" (later rebranded as "ShowCraft") and showcased professional Starcraft 2 matches in a series called "Procraft" on his "TotalBiscuit" Starcraft 2 channel. He had a YouTube series based on the game Terraria played with Jesse Cox (OMFGcata). Simon and Lewis have since also created a three-part series and have tutored Jesse Cox on how to play Minecraft.
John voiced the character "Vinnie & Spike" in the game Awesomenauts and the "Steampunk Disciple" alternate avatar of the "Corrupted Disciple" character in Heroes of Newerth. He also voiced the "Crystal Ball" in the adult animated series Broken Quest and the "Medivac" in HuskyStarcraft's show HuskyTales.
John was a guest on the Geek & Sundry show, Tabletop, a board gaming show hosted by retired actor Wil Wheaton. He was also interviewed for BBC Radio 1's documentary on gaming on YouTube, Rockstar Gamers.