On The Death of John "TotalBiscuit" Bain

I haven't made a post in a while, but the death of TB hit me hard when I watched the VoD of the memorial Co-Optional. So here is what I have to say on it.

Let me say the first and most blunt thing, fuck cancer. My family has spent generations fighting the fight for research, our genetic predisposition is also quite high. So seeing one of the few inspirations go down to it, it wasn't that shocker to hear it was cancer. His death to cancer was sad in its lack of noteworthy cause. That sounds awful, but reality is I have seen it happen a lot of times with others. That is the worse part. The cause of death left no impact since it has come so normal. Fuck cancer for that.

For why TB's death hit me so hard, well I am a game designer. I love games. I love them more than you could imagine. Games are a magical, wonderful, amazing, dream realizing thing to me. I love games, I sell my services to anyone who will pay for them for me to help them realize their dreams because I love games, all games. The good and the bad all have value when the one who makes them loves them. All I have ever wanted is to see games be great. TotalBiscuit, he also loved games, no one could critical and be so brutally savagely, unforgivably opinionated about games as he was without their heart being in it.

His passion inspired me to become a master of my art. I have studied every aspect of game design, from balancing classes, to leveling systems, to level design, to weapon design, to combat, to pacing and beyond. Everything I have sought to master comes from my love to see games be the best they can be, and my inspiration to focus my love and my passion into this path was some loud mouthed Brit named John Bain.

I was in high school when I started studying game design. I can tell you how it started. I was watching his videos and I saw a man who loved games. He cared about them, he cared as much as I did. That meant, that in the world there was at least one other person who cared like I did about seeing games realizing their potential. For no one can be as critical as he was without caring deeply about what he was critical of. That was enough. That day I sought to master the art. I have done a lot since then. I was already a game tester for hire, only recently transitioning away from doing it for free on forums. I started to balance test games while studying the underlying design. I started to rip entire systems apart in my reports. I started describing alternative designs to fix the flaws and preserve intent. Next thing you know, I am pointing out how to fix systems. I started to work in design more and more. I became one of a group that makes up one of the many dirty little secrets of the industry as I got my words in the ears of lead designers in Activision, EA, Ubisoft, and beyond. Indie and AAA both have seen my touch in secret unlisted ways.

TotalBiscuit inspired me to pour my passion into it all like that. His legacy is massive. It is one of dozens of YouTubers and the like. However it is also one of a game designer who comes in and leaves unaccredited and unnoted. A guy whose job is to hide the fuck ups of the designers of the games on your screens and on your table tops without ever being named. If John Bain saw the list of games I worked on, the pile of NDAs that bind me to silence; he would smile fondly at many of them. I heard him praise my work more than once without him knowing, damning it just as many times, but without him I would never have pushed myself to the point where such things happened. His legacy is not only his channel, his videos, and those he helped on YouTube. His legacy includes every game I ever worked on. Good chances you've played one.

Rest not in peace, for if there is one thing peace is lacking, it is an acceptable amount of metal.


~ Jesse "Squirrel_killer-" Smith-Rogers