A Goodbye and Thank You to John Bain
On May 24th 2018 John Bain, also known TotalBiscuit, passed from stage 4 cancer. He leaves behind a family, a community, and a legacy. He was a man who strived for change in the industry and honesty from the journalist branch of gaming. He was a flawed person, but he was ultimately a good person. I would like to start this piece by saying thank you. Thank you John, for being the voice for the consumer, thank you for demanding honest business, and finally thank you for being an inspiration to me and the countless channels, writers, and developers who took your words to make art of their own. Because of him this industry won’t be the same.
Recently John was on the H3 podcast where he detailed his experiences living with cancer. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that had spread throughout his body, doctors only gave him two years max. When the podcast was shot it had been two years…and five days. “Fuck those odds”, was his thoughts on the matter. He had been fighting a hard battle, doing an intense chemotherapy session that lasted 4 days, every two weeks. “I get 10 good days and 4 bad ones.” Those words are heartbreaking for many of us, those of us fortunate enough to not have to face a reality like that. But for John, and many like him, no matter what the illness may be, this is their reality. For him it was 10 good days and 4 bad. For others it may just be one good day in a sea of bad days. But his message to them was that as long as there can be one good day there’s something worth fighting for. The moment you quit is the moment you’ve died. John explained that people have asked him what it’s like with cancer, does it hurt him, or cause any problems? He said that he didn’t even feel it, unlike a cold or cut or a broken bone, there was no feeling of the rapid cell growth in his body. Instead all the pain came from the treatment, the sickness and stabbing that came with chemotherapy. Watching him speak about it the night before I wrote this, I couldn’t begin to fathom how he put up with it for two years, I couldn’t begin to understand how those with cancer do it. But I understood one thing, his story doesn’t have to be everyone’s. John had stated multiple times for people, especially young men, to get checked if they see any symptoms, because your life is worth more than a little embarrassment. He also hit heavy on donating to cancer research, because medical facilities are coming up with new treatments and methods every day but they do need financial support. So please do consider donating, even just a dollar. I’m not going to link any foundations or advocacy groups here, rather, search up your local cancer research center and donate directly to them, that way all of your money goes to research. John fought hard and pushed for this so others don’t have to go through the same thing, so let’s honor that fight.
His contributions to the industry have long-lasting marks that will hopefully be carried on by those he inspired. John was a PC gamer at heart and focused a lot of his criticism on that particular platform. Whether it was a shoddy port or simply a broken game or him taking shots at the mess Steam Greenlight became, he always looked out for the consumer. This led to some labeling him a bully though, all that his detractors saw was a man tearing apart smaller developers because their game wasn’t great. In all actuality, John often praised many indie devs, spotlighting his audience to games that may have not been noticed otherwise. His criticism wasn’t limited to indie games either as he also reviewed many AAA games, even breaking news about controversies surrounding them. One of the most infamous examples was when he revealed that Warner Brothers was paying YouTube personalities to say positive things about Shadow of Mordor, which was disappointing as the game itself was very good. John only gained more attention when the GamerGate movement started. While I don’t feel inclined to discuss the specifics of that here, John was a rallying voice for ethics in games journalism. He also loved to interact with his fans, going to BlizCon every year he could. Whether it was panels or meet and greets he never shied from engaging with his fans. All in all he was someone who fought for what he believed in and cared about the people around him.
So to end this, I would like to once again thank John for all he has done. You were one great man and I hope you are taking it easy. While we never got the chance to meet you still have had a huge impact on my writing. Goodbye man, we’ll miss ya.