My TotalBiscuit Story

My TotalBiscuit Story

TotalBiscuit, PC game critic and YouTube celebrity John Bain, passed away last night at just 33, after a 4-year battle with cancer. I wanted to write about how he influenced me as a content creator and might just be the person most responsible for getting me on YouTube.

How I Found TotalBiscuit

I kind of missed the early boat when it comes to YouTube and Twitch. Almost 10 years ago I knew people who recorded gameplay footage for, but I didn’t know how and I didn’t have the hardware to do it myself. I didn’t watch much YouTube back then either, and the idea of putting let’s play footage up there didn’t even cross my mind.

My limited experience of online video was garbage like Hamster Dance and Badger Badger Mushroom. And – of course – massive scripted overreactions to trivial things. It wasn’t until a long time later I kind of stumbled onto TB and his “WTF Is…” series. This was clearly an intelligent guy, talking eruditely about a subject I actually cared about. I saw a lot of myself in his content and he obviously looked for the same kind of thing in games that I did. No shouting, no click-bait, just a smart, well-produced series of videos. I believe he had around 110k subs at the time and I was happy to become one of them.

How TotalBiscuit Influenced Me

Around 2014 my social life picked up and I realised I didn’t have as much free time as I once did. I looked at TB’s “WTF Is…” series and realised that people in my position didn’t necessarily have 30-40 minutes to watch videos to find out if a game was worth playing or not. It was right there I came up with my 30 Second Review series.

30 Second Reviews was a fairly short-lived series of videos, but it was designed to be an in-and-out look at a game to give as much information in as little time as possible. I obviously couldn’t spend as much time talking about the detailed options screens as TB, but It was a lot of fun to make, but very time consuming and difficult to monetise (this was before YouTube started raising their requirements). After a year (ish) and 10 videos (ish) I realised that the amount of work required to maintain a series like this on a regular basis was quite significant. I used to wonder why it took TotalBiscuit so long to roll out his videos, but now I know.

Of course later on this turned into my First Look series, which I think sits somewhere between 30 Second Reviews and WTF Is. I don’t dig into as many options and details as TB, but I have time to chat about the things that I like and dislike about the game I’m playing.

Fuck Cancer

Anyone who knows me will be aware that my wife lost both of her parents in the last 2 years due to cancer. It’s also affected both of my own parents, although they are thankfully still around. The saddest part of anyone losing their battle with cancer is that it’s starting to feel like it’s inevitable. I understand that the survival rate is up to 50% these days, but that is still not enough. It’s a horrible, insidious condition that has lasting effects on everyone, and it needs to go. Please find a good charity and donate what you can.

Goodbye TotalBiscuit. Thanks for inspiring me to do what I do.

Oh, and fuck cancer.


Cancer Research UK

I’ll update this post with a link to Genna Bain’s preferred choice of cancer charity if and when she shares that information.

Because the internet can be brilliant sometimes, a few people sent me links. So here’s a couple of requests by the man himself.

Thanks to Ben C and Super Nofa on Twitter for pointing me in the right direction.