John Bain, otherwise know as TotalBiscuit or the Cynical Brit, has announced he is retiring from games criticism. In a post on Reddit he referred to as “most likely… my last health update”, he cited that despite his best efforts, his health is in a dire state. “I’m under the influence of too much medication to think clearly and my schedule too unreliable to get coverage out in a timely manner”.
For followers of Bain’s work, this is only the latest part of a long battle. In May 2014 he was given a diagnosis, bowel cancer. Chemotherapy treatments were helpful and the cancer went into remission. Unfortunately the cancer returned, attacking his liver and spine. “My body has become resistant to all forms of [chemotherapy] according to my oncologist”, he wrote in a lengthy Reddit announcement. “46 chemo treatments, 138 days plugged into a pump. Let nobody ever say I wasn’t stubborn.”
Unfortunately Bain’s contingency plan was to take part in clinical trials, but that hasn’t panned out. “My liver is failing and its effectiveness has lowered past the point where the clinical trials I had been offered would take me on.” Bain and his family will continue to seek other trials, but they’re also considering the possibility of not recovering. “I’m currently coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have long left and right now, at any rate, there is literally nothing I can do about it other than try to manage the pain as best as possible”.
As for the future, Bain intends on continuing his other work. The Co-optional Podcast, which Bain co-hosts with Dodger Leigh and Jesse Cox, has been shortened from 3 hours to 2. He will continue to stream on his Youtube and Twitch accounts, though will be transitioning his wife, Gemma, to run the channels. He has not given any indication as to his life expectancy. In fact, he has gone so far as to omit details in his post to discourage any speculation.
It’s fair to say TotalBiscuit is controversial at times. He, like many others working in the games media in this new socially connected world, often finds thimself holding a dissenting opinion. He is always willing to point out anti-consumer tactics from big publishers and is a big advocate against the culture of pre-ordering games. He has a particular disdain for games that refuse to use high frame rates and is always willing to speak out against the bad players in the industry. But at his core, as with all others in this field, his anger and disappointment in the industry always stemmed from a place of love, I’m sure. Regardless of any criticism, games critics, I believe, are interested in reviewing games because of the love. We hate certain games, not because we despise games, but because we think games can be so much more than they are. They can be perfect if not for minor issues holding them back. That is what rants and criticism show us.
Total Biscuit is a wonderful voice in this industry and an inspiration for myself. Whether soon or far in the future, I hope he will be remembered for all the great he has brought to the world.