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R.I.P. of John "TotalBiscuit" Bain


(Artwork for this header image is a very slightly modified version of artist DarrenGeers work, you can see the original on his Deviant Art)

So I know a lot of people have written things about TotalBiscuit since his passing and well while in the grand scheme of things I'm no-one: Not some reputable respected journalist or some well known person of any kind I wanted to say a goodbye.

It's taken me however long to put this out simply because I kind of wanted to let the news sink in and not be seen to be jumping in on this because of it being some breaking event.

As this is me talking about TB and what memories I have it's going to be a about how TB has had an impact on me, in part, and the few interactions, mostly in figurative passing on the internet that I've had with TB.

The first time I became aware of TotalBiscuit as such was during the campaign against SOPA where his video about the subject was shared with me. Since then I've been a frequent viewer of the channel

There are two interactions I think are worth pointing out and show the impact he had and a bit about his character.

The first one being when I got a question read out and answered on a show he used to do called The Mail Box:

The question I asked was about the idea of bundling AAA titles with new IPs and I still have the email I sent in.

This was TB interacting and discussing things with the community. For all the things that happened with TB and the internet over the years the Mailbox and the longevity of that series shows that TB really did always care about his viewers and did enjoy interacting with them to have a discussion of sorts. TB cared so much for his viewers upon winning the Game Awards Tending Gamer 2014 he gave special mention to a fan whose one wish was to meet him, a wish due to his own cancer diagnosis he was regrettably unable to fulfil.

The second interaction of sorts with TB was when he shared a C-blog of mine. The C-blog was an issue I felt was pretty important as it was about how Microsoft was very late paying some indie developers as Christmas was approaching. TB lending his platform to help raise awareness and push for people to look into the situation was a catalyst to that caused more of the industry to take notice. It wasn't long after that Kotaku wrote an article about the situations sourcing my C-blog. It caused Microsoft to apologise to the developers and fix the situation in time for Christmas. It's my firm belief that without TB sharing that blog none of that would have happened. For a number of very small indie developers TB may very well have saved that Christmas for them and their families by bringing attention to the issue.

Leaving my personal interactions with TB behind now it's worth pointing out the impact TB had on indie games. Thanks to him a number of studios likely are still running. Abbey Games developers of Renowned Explorers: International Society and Reus credited TB and his video on their game with helping keep the studio alive by doubling the sales of Renowned Explorers almost overnight and also strongly boosted the "sales tail" of the game. While I don't have a source for it I remember hearing TB's video on One Finger Death Punch similarly helped save Silver Dollar Games. I'm sure there are also countless other indie studios who very much credit TB and his videos with helping their sales numbers.

TB through his actions has likely helped countless families by helping developers get paid and helping indie studios succeed and it's a tragedy in the end that he was taken from his family so soon. John Bain is survived by Genna his business partner and wife along with his son and his parents. It's fair to say life wasn't always fair on TB and his family as this is the final blow in a long fight with the world. Early on in their relationship the world threw a curve ball their way as TotalBiscuit was refused entry into the US due to a suspicious Homeland security officer who, despite even Blizzard confirming TB was coming to Blizzcon and was invited by them, chose to send TB back to the UK despite no evidence of any actual wrong doing. Having been essentially deported by the US TB was unable to go even to visit Genna due to having been deported. From reading accounts round the time TB by his own admission wasn't in a great spot working at the video game store Game and making videos when he could in his spare time. Struggling to help support his family he moved out of his flat and back in with his parents allowing him to support Genna and his son. TB finally caught a break as youtuber Husky (HuskyStarcraft) contacted TB and introduced him to Maker and The Game Station. With the added boost of joining the relatively new network TB was able to earn enough money to support his family, move back out from his parents house and focus on making and improving his video content. Eventually TB was able to get enough money together to officially move to the USA and pay for lawyers to fight through the tangled legal mess that would allow him to live and work in the USA and clear the proverbial black mark left years ago by that unfair deportation. It is in the end a cruel hand that fate dealt TB and his family, that they had so few years together before his diagnosis and how, not that long ago, TB was believed to be in the clear before the cancer was found to have returned.

TB tried to use his platform to also help others when he could too: His King of the Web run for Charity water and his Livestream for Charity Water; his rather novel and different participation in the ALS Icebucket challenge;  he shared links to streams hoping to raise money for able gamers along with doing his own; he even did a stream during which he helped raise money for the International Women's Health Coalition and its efforts in Africa, India, The Middle East and Asia. This is just a sample of a few charity efforts TB used his platform to help.

I'm sorry if this blog seems out of the ordinary or weirdly timed coming just after the big celebration of gaming that was E3. Part of E3 for a number of years for me was watching TB & Genna making videos where they made snarky comments over the shows, and sometimes just sharing their love of the industry when companies put effort and love into their shows making them no longer seem like a cynical corporate event but a celebration of the future of gaming.

TB very much inspired me to look into indie games and to help use what little platform I have to highlight some of the lesser known but very well crafted games out there. With TB sharing that Cblog of mine he showed me one person can make a difference and even if that voice is tiny, it can go a long way when it's being held up for all to hear by giants.

For those who want to help support his family out in what is a difficult time, not least due to the medical expenses thanks to the USA's system there is a Go Fund Me currently running still helping raise money for them, should you be able to (As TB would likely have said don't feel you're somehow obliged to give, just if you happen to be able to help).

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About Dwarvenhobbleone of us since 8:33 AM on 06.19.2012

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