If you watch video game content on YouTube, chances are you know who TotalBiscuit is. He’s one of the biggest names on there and one who I’ve been watching since at least early 2013, if not earlier. I still don’t consume a ton of gaming video content but before discovering him, I watched basically nothing but Giant Bomb. Since then, he’s become a regular staple in my video rotation. I enjoy that he often differs from group think (not unlike myself), that he speaks honestly, he’s transparent with his audience about his business and often his life and that most of all, he puts real effort into the quality of the content he puts out, unlike so many other popular channels. Without a doubt, he’s among the top of his game.
If you follow him at all, you also probably know he’s kicked plenty of Internet hornets nests over the years. He is direct and honest with his community but sometimes that also involved poking (or perhaps more accurately, stabbing) trolls rather than ignoring them, something I’ve also talked about before. He’s since admitted to having some potentially deep seated issues that cause him to feel compelled to do that and he’s seeking help for that stuff. I can relate to a degree. Personally, I like people who can be straight up and honest and while I’m often not one to mince words myself (see the title of this blog), there is a line that he perhaps crossed more than he should have. I still believe his honestly and commitment to the long-term evolution of YouTube as a legitimate means to cover games far outweighed any of that though. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the impact he’s had on how video games are covered and discussed.
A while ago, TotalBiscuit revealed that a cancerous mass had been discovered in his rectum. In the VLOG, he is once again honest and talks about how he procrastinated getting a diagnosis and that while it ended up looking to be something easily removed, it probably would have gone much better had he just gone to a doctor right away. He used this to encourage his audience to not make the same mistake. Unfortunately, today is was revealed when he went in for surgery that in fact, it was worse than originally thought and he actually has full on cancer. He will need chemotherapy, though only the pill based form which is still no picnic but far better than it could have been, in addition to more surgery. He seemed to indicate that the prognosis is good overall but still, this is some heavy stuff he has to endure.
I don’t know if he’ll ever read this post or see the accompanying video (I doubt he will with the well wishes pouring out online right now) but I just wanted to take the opportunity to wish TotalBiscuit and his family all the best in this difficult time. As I’ve consumed more of his content and gotten to know more about him in the last couple of years, I’ve realised that I have the type of connection with him that I do with the crew from Giant Bomb. I don’t know TotalBiscuit, I’ve never met him and yet it makes me happy to see he has new content out and it brightens even dark days a little bit to see it there. It’s like comfort food for me. He makes a regular point of saying that he just makes content and we watch it, that he’s not our friends and we shouldn’t treat him as such. I get that completely and I don’t treat the crew from Giant Bomb that way either. Nonetheless, when you consume someone’s content and hear them openly talk about their lives as these people do, you do feel a connection to them in some way, even if it’s distant and tangential. It’s why when I hear of illness or even death in the life of some random Hollywood celebrity, I might go “Hunh, that’s too bad.” and just move on with my day but when Ryan Davis passed away, it hit me like a ton of bricks and sent me into a long depression relapse. You may not be their friend and you may know it but there’s still something that causes emotional reactions in you.
TotalBiscuit’s news of his diagnosis and a subsequent post he’s put up in which he discussed both his own behaviour and how he’s now seeing the disgusting bile spewed forth from some despicable Internet people who are making fun of this situation really struck a nerve with me. It’s showing how he’s evolving as a person as well a just a personality and it takes a lot of courage to continue to put his consciousness out there in a way that so many others don’t. It’s both noble and humbling that someone who will get attacked for anything he says is willing to still go so personal because though he rightly assumes he’s not his community’s friend, he does see it as important they know personal things about him.
It’s no exaggeration to say that a good part of the reason my YouTube channel exists is because of TotalBiscuit. I liked what he was making, knew enough about video to try to make my own stuff and thought it would be a fun challenge, intellectually, technically and in particular, in helping my overcome my social anxieties. I liked his format but didn’t just want to copy what he was doing so I thought taking my love of retro games and co-op to the format was a neat direction to go. I’ve been cranking out content for over a year now and though my channel still has so few viewers as to barely make it worth the effort (I’ve whined about that elsewhere), I continue to do it because it’s a great learning experience and it does indeed help a great deal with my anxieties. With every new video, I think I’m improving a little bit more and the quality of what TotalBiscuit does is the bar I aim for. I’m still miles away from said bar but his content keeps me motivated to hit it. Despite my channel’s minuscule size, I still love making stuff for it. The impact this has had on my life can’t be understated and he’s the reason it’s here.
I don’t know if you’ll ever read this TotalBiscuit–John–but if you do, I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus wishing you, Genna and the rest of your family all the best. You’re one stubborn son of a bitch and there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll kick this thing to the curb and come back stronger than ever. I’ll continue to happily watch whatever you make and your loyal community will be here for what comes after. People like you and the Giant Bomb crew have helped me through some very dark times in my life and your content has made some very bad days better. As my recent unemployment drags on, I can see more of those days ahead but knowing I have your stuff to look forward to helps them pass easier.
Best of luck sir, you are an inspiration to me and undoubtedly many others and though you don’t know me at all, you have helped me more than you know. Thank you for everything you do. Fuck cancer amirite?!