Video game critic and esports commentator John “TotalBiscuit” Bain has died after a long battle with bowel cancer. His death has led to an outpouring of condolences from fans who are celebrating his broad body of work, but the late gaming personality was also a big proponent of charitable causes.
He helped raise $52,644 dollars for charity:water in 2012 and $10,195 dollars for the International Women’s Health Coalition in 2016. When fans offered donations to help pay for his medical expenses in 2014, he declined and directed them to a UK charity for bowel cancer instead.
In his 13-year career, Bain held a number of roles in the gaming industry. His YouTube channel, TotalBiscuit, was among the first channels on the platform dedicated to video game coverage. His WTF is. . . series pioneered the Let’s Play format that is now used by other prominent gaming YouTubers such as PewDiePie and Markiplier.
He was also an esports commentator and team manager. Axiom, founded and owned by Bain’s business partner and wife Genna Bain, was a small but successful StarCraft team. When public interest in StarCraft began to wane, they kept Axiom alive longer than bigger organizations who cut their teams to invest in other, more profitable scenes.
As a gaming pundit, Bain’s candid critiques and contentious personality made him a polarizing figure. Some viewed him as a gaming elitist for his emphasis on technical details in video games such as locked framerates and UI optimization, but he also garnered many fans for his tireless advocacy for consumer rights. He aired these views regularly as a founder and host of the Co-optional Podcast, one of the first gaming podcasts on Twitch.
Bain publicly announced he had a precancerous mass in his colon in April 2014 and began chemotherapy shortly after. According to Bain, his physicians gave him less than a year to live, but he continued to persevere and began looking into other forms of treatment.
In April 2018, Bain retired from game critique and went into palliative care. Genna Bain announced his death on Twitter. Before dying, Bain made preparations for his wife to take over the Co-optional Podcast.
Bain’s far-reaching legacy as a pioneer in video game critique, esports, and social media platforms has inspired an outpouring of condolences from all corners of the gaming industry, but particularly fans of the Blizzard games that he extensively covered throughout his career. The Overwatch League paid tribute to him earlier today in a broadcast and posters on the official StarCraft II forums are requesting a charity drive in his name.