"Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is TotalBiscuit, and I'm here to ask and answer one simple question. WTF is..."
The Cynical Brit.AKA TotalBiscuit; TotalHalibut;Dark Halibut; El Poncho Grande; John Bain.John Bain, better known by his screen name TotalBiscuit, is a British-born creator of YouTube videos and commentary showcasing his first impressions of whatever game has only just been released. He does fast-paced Starcraft II Multiplayer commentary, first-impression videos of indie games on Steam and other digital-distribution platforms through a series known as WTF is..., and collaborations with other channels, such as co-op playthroughs of Magicka and Trine 2 with Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane of the Yogscast and a Terraria series with Jesse Cox.As for his Starcraft II involvement, he became a sponsor for Team Dignitas' BlinG, and has founded Team Axiom, which currently has 5 players.During his time with Wow Radio, TotalBiscuit hosted a few shows - Dungeon Master (a short-lived non-intensive raid guide), Titan, TB's Show About Videogames and EPIC! - but, in the world of podcasts, he is best known for both his "shock-jock"-inspired persona and Blue Plz, a World of Warcraft weekly podcast, Cataclysm expansion beta (and afterward, published content) playthroughs with commentary, and daily updates of "WoW news and content" through his Azeroth Daily videos. He discontinued his regular World of Warcraft videos as of May 2011 and, although he continued it for a few weeks afterwards, has confirmed that Blue Plz is "done for good" as well. He has also done 27 videos of an ambitious Let's Play for Shining Force III (which he has unfortunately been forced to take down due to copyright claims by Sega Japan), and had been embarking on a playthrough of DC Universe Online after a handful of beta content videos were well-received on his channel.You can find his YouTube channel here, TotalHalibut. In August of 2011, he created another YouTube channel, TotalBiscuit, which he will use to host exclusively Starcraft II content. He is yet another member of Polaris, and ever since it was called TheGameStation helps run a weekly podcast, now called the Co-Optional Podcast.His YMMV page can be viewed HERE.Not to be confused withMean Britnote Though, if game developing was the topic of a Reality Show, TB would definitely be the Mean Brit. Or a certain OTHER cynical Brit.
He's mentioned that he creates a LOT of videos, has a lot of ideas for video series, but has to cut a lot of them because they don't meet his strict standards, he doesn't have the time for it, or other reasons (such as his boycott of SEGA related content).
Accidental Innuendo: He does this from time to time, at which point either he or someone he is playing/casting with will inevitably tell people not to look into it. invoked
Crossing a Watermelon field while playing a female engineer in Guild Wars 2: "Look at that advanced melon technology. No, not THAT kind of melon technology."
He has since done a WTF Is... of I Wanna Be the Guy Gaiden. He sets a record for giving into rage about 2 minutes in and doesn't let upnote He has since stated that he was faking it in a parody of RagePlayers such as Tobuscus and PewDiePie.
Top hats and monocles appear to be high on his agenda.
While the monocle isn't (yet), TB does wear a top hat on "official" videos in which his face is shown. One example of this would be his coverage of the Games Com show.
TB's a big Terry Pratchett fan, sometimes encouraging people to read the books. The origin of his name? From the book Carpe Jugulum, TotalBiscuit, a "horrible" name given to a child because of the child's culture. His first online handle also came from Terry Pratchett, Soulcake.
Jesse: Is this where you tell me, "I ate steak off the back of a naked Asian woman [for breakfast], then I went and killed a rhinoceros with my bare hands, upon which I took his horn and made a flute- even though it seems impossible. And I did that all before 6 A.M." TB: Ah, so you do follow my Twitter.
Don't mess with Husky Starcraft — the guy is responsible for getting TB his YouTube partnership, and the job to provide for his family, or, in TB's own words: "Husky is the reason my family still has a roof over their heads".
invoked Has a bit of a trigger finger on banning Fan Dumb — both his own and that of others. It doesn't matter if you like his videos, you love kittens or you like Ponies — if you're being a dick about what you like, you will piss him off.
Newest one... Moogles, which make TotalBiscuit punch a kitten.
His biggest one yet: Do not, under any circumstance, question TB's morals as a commentator and as a game consumer. Nearly an hour of the fourth GameStation podcast was devoted to a debate/shouting contest between Jesse and TB on this.
Minecraft. He finds the game itself overrated, thinks the community is the worst on the internet, and has come to hate Mojang themselves, especially after Notch bad-mouthed the Yogscast on Twitter after the first Minecon.
Bowdlerise: He might not be fond of cursing in front of his audience, and if he will do so, expect a warning from him, in advance. That didn't happen for the WTF Is... Long Live The Queen ? episode, though. The preparation stream with his wife Genna had TB calling the game on having tons of "anime bullshit", and for the actual episode, TB said "anime nonsense" right once.
When the makers of an indie game TB snubs tries to claim copyright to censor his extremely unflattering opinion, they wind up looking like idiots and generating even more negative press by showing how poorly they take criticism. The mess with Day One and Guise Of The Wolf had left both companies humiliated and their reputations utterly tarnished. And that's not even half of it when you take into account his fanbase's (sometimes overkill) reactions to said threats.
The makers of Guise Of The Wolf actually threated to sue, TB's response roughly amounted to "bring it on". They backed down within the day since no sane prosecutor would take a case that censored free speech (a constitutional right) and the fact that TB has access to Polaris' lawyers.
As pointed out by TB and Jesse in their Q & A video together on OMFGcata, Simon (a Gnome) and Lewis (then named Zephir, a Night Elf) are literally right there when TB is accepting and recording the "Peacebloom vs Ghouls" quest, back in the days when the Yogscast's flagship channel, TotalBiscuit, and OMFGcata had a friendly rivalry uploading World of Warcraft content as quickly as they could.
Simon (Honeydew) decides to finally add TotalBiscuit to his Steam friends list during one of his Terraria livestreams.
Another one where he cameos during the Yogscast's Earth Defense Force Livestream (audio only as the video is game footage). Notable of reducing Sips to a blithering fanboy.
Sips: Say my name. Oh please say my name! TB: Um... * TB chats for a while then leaves* Sips: He probably thinks I'm a weird fanboy now...
And now Lewis is a cute necromancer girl followed by 4 meatpatchworked monsters while TB is a furry with a charrzooka and stabby stabby daggers in the GW2 beta.
TB: Greetings Lewis, how are you today?
In Tom Syndicate's 6th August Minecraft Project livestream, TB called him up on Skype after 15 minutes to help him with streaming lag issues.
Catch Phrase: Numerous. Some of the most frequent ones seem to be more along the lines of a Verbal Tic, in fact.
"Fire ze missiles!" "I'm working on it." "Yes indeed.." "Sounds reasonable." "That's problematic." "Covered in X!" "Yes, it is delicious!" "My name is TotalBiscuit and I'm here to ask and answer one simple question... WTF is[insert game title here]?" "By any stretch of the imagination" "Free X! My favorite kind of X!" "Big fan of that." "Ah, bollocks..." "X is/are the worst thing/things in the world..." "Death to you!"
"Onwards, for great justice!" "Let us rock and/or roll... whichever comes first." "Lets kick it off, shall we?" "Funny how that works." "I can tell you that for a fact." "...in any way, shape or form." "Honestly" or "If I'm being totally honest." "Wundabar!" "For the good of the land!" "Beta is Beta." or "Alpha is Alpha" "At the end of the day..." "Sit down!" "...as much as Humanly (sometimes Zergly) possible "...see what he can see..." "...streaming across the map" "Bit of a bugbear;..." "Welcome to the Game Station Podcast where we occasionally talk about Videogames." "...as a direct result..." "I have more... than god!"
TB: "Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Totalbiscuit and I'm here to as— PC: *Crashes into the room* "I am you from the future, there's no time to explain! Follow me to — OH CHRIST!! WAAAAH!!" *giant claw grabs PC* TB: "What the Chr—? *Beat* My name is Totalb—" PC, still in Claw: "Use the arrow keys to move!! UAAHGH!!" TB: "--iscuit... and I'm here... to ask and answer one simple question..."
He also namechecks the trope during WTF is... Dustforce.
Can't Hold His Liquor: During the Star Wars Kinect Dance Off and the 14th podcast, TB visibly drinks the least amount of Champagne among the three of them, but looks even more drunk than Jesse (downed his whole bottle note Or, well.. he did spill a lot of his and filled a colostomy bag with liquor, see here, yet only acts slightly more silly than usual) and Dodger (almost finished her bottle and does not look drunk at all).
Caustic Critic: At times, but less often than the name "Cynical Brit" would suggest. He's actually quite fair, and often finds something to appreciate even in a game he doesn't like.
That said, this trope is possibly parodied for the most part. There have been quite a few times where he said something that isn't stereotypically cute (like the skull in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine) being adorable.
One instance of this happened during Easter Day where his twitter avatar became a cute rabbit, followed up by him linking to bunny videos on YouTube and posting random cute bunny pictures throughout the day. Subscribers and followers of his Twitter had a Wild Mass Guessing about whether he was momentarily possessed, drunk, sad, hungry for rabbit meat, Trolling, if it was his wife, or if he had a soft spot for bunnies.
Subscriber: Cynical Fleet currently experiencing bunnies, please try again later.
If he can't acquire a guest host (or one of the regular hosts is unavailable) for the weekly TGS Podcast, he'll replace the spot in the overlay with either a still image or video of a cute animal, often one of his own pet chinchillas.
Gag Dub: The Cynical Redub series of videos, which riff video game conferences. The description even says it was inspired by other Abridged Series, though it currently doesn't fit the description of the trope.
You want hate? You see what the Nazis did, that's hate! Yes I brought the Nazis in. —TotalBiscuit, disagreeing with the term "hater" to describe someone who strongly dislikes a game.
Gone Horribly Right: His WTF is of I Wanna Be the Guy Gaiden. He made it intending it to be a parody of "rageplayers" on Youtube who overreact to everything, getting outraged over the smallest things and throwing in plenty of Out Of Character Moments in order to emphasise this. Unfortunately, he managed to do a rage video a bit too well and created a genuinely funny video. Naturally, most people didn't get the joke.
It Was with You All Along: In Episode 39 of their Terraria series, TB and Jesse decide to make some Spelunker potions to help with finding the new ores to make better equipment. They head out to find Moonglow, which is one of the ingredients, and continue to search for it throughout episodes 40-42. They return with only 2 Moonglow and one Moonglow seed, and when Jesse opens one of the chests to find clay to make a pot...
Jesse: Uh, we have a chest full of- ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? There's a chest filled with 5 Moonglow!
TB:If you blow your load too quickly with jump scares-(Opens the door, cue Scare Chord) AAHH, JESUS CHRIST!
Knight in Sour Armor: TB can be extremely bitter and realistic about the motives of publishers, developers, even gamers, and always points out the flaws in the industry....but it is very clear that he utterly loves his job, and believes Gaming will continue to be a hugely beneficial medium.
Large Ham: He tends to seemingly overreact to certain things.
Mind Screw: He starts thinking this near the end of Thirty Flights of Loving. Although he feels there's some sort of significance to everything, he feels as if he's too stupid to get it.
Missing Episode: The three lost Terraria videos. All of them had the videos lost (the second and third by accidental deletion on TB's part) but the audio saved, and TB has released the second and third lost episodes (meant to be before episode 32) as an audio podcast. The first one, meant to be before episode 13, has not been released, though.
TotalBiscuit has said in an AMA on Reddit that the file for Episode 13 was "completely fucked" and therefore was never released.
To the point where he created an entire series based on the concept, called "This is why we can't have nice things."
Nice Hat: Why yes he does own a top hat in Real Life, and if there is a top hat to be obtained in a game he'll make it one of his top priorities to get it.
He owns a variety of other hats. A running gag on TGS Podcast is that every episode he wears a different hat, either sent in by a fan or self-purchased.
(Nearly) Bald of Awesome: The reason for his extensive hat collection is because of his very stressful casting life along with complications in his personal life (See his Crowning Moment of Heartwarming page for details)and the fact that baldness runs in his family, his hair started thinning out. To hide this, if he can he will wear a hat. Although, without a hat on and his usual attire when casting (a suit and tie) as shown here, he has been commented on to look like a Mafia Boss.
Only in It for the Money: invoked Averted, he thoroughly enjoys doing his work (The Fan Dumb that comes with it, not so much), and is not above doing charity work and donating to charity. Of course he has to earn a living from his work, but money is not the primary motivator.
TB (speaking of money he earned): "As regards to the money I don't really care, so I went and boughta goat."
Overly Narrow Superlative: One of his catch phrases is to call a game "The Premier [*insert short, few word description pertaining to one aspect of the game*] Simulator."
In fact, pretty much any use of profanity on TB's part (outside videos containing "spur-of-the-moment" reactions such as his Hallowe'en special on Amnesia: The Dark Descent or daily VoDs of his raw I Suck At Starcraft stream) - due to its irregularity, even despite his tendency to rant/be cynical - could be considered one of these.
TB: You have any idea how difficult it is (*Meat Boy runs into buzzsaw*) to resist the urge to say FFFFFFFFFFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!
He outright stated during a League of Legends livestream that it wouldn't be going up on his YouTube channel because he was swearing so much. It would go against his personal expectations when it comes to the quality of his videos.
His first death in I Wanna Be the Guy Gaiden produces one of these, and a subsequent death provokes a, "SON OF A BITCH!".
He also has a tendency to make some of his character avatars (special mention to his Krogan from the Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer) wear mostly or completely pink. If not pink, some other ridiculous color.
A Meta-example: Whenever a YouTube Video receives recognition from TB (via a Like or share on his channel), expect one of the top liked comments to be some variation of "The Cynical Fleet has Arrived" because of the legion of TB fans watching the video.
This originated from TB's tendency of 1-base Battlecruiser-rushing on Starcraft II before he switched to Zerg: It got popular enough for the subscriber icons in chat to be Battlecruisers, the subscribers to be named the Cynical Fleet, and the cruisers themselves to be renamed "Biscuitcruisers".
A variation of this is "A TotalBiscuit army is approaching from the west!", derived from the Terraria in-game message 'A goblin army is approaching from the west/east!'
TotalBiscuit pronouncing M. Night Shyamalan as Shyamalalalal.
Sarcasm Mode: Absolutely overloaded during his video "Behold Cranky Cat, too good for Greenlight"... With a rather strange twist that turns it into... Something else altogether... It's easier to just watch the video and watch the magic unfold before your eyes, than trying to explain it.
Schedule Slip: In regards to his Magicka co-op with Lewis and Simon of the Yogscast; the three had increasingly busy schedules starting after Part 8, and Part 14, a 40+ minute episode, had audio issues that TotalBiscuit still hadn't edited out yet when it was released two months after recording.
This happened with his Terraria series, although that's due to a combination of a very busy schedule and complete apathy to continue the series.
Self-Deprecation: If his video on his role in Awesomenauts is any indication, he doesn't seem to have all that much confidence in the lines he recorded for the game, or whether or not he thought he was the best choice for the character.
TB: I present to you the top 5 worst pieces of shit that I put on my channel in 2012, because good lord, there have been a lot of bad videos.
In the Game Station podcast, while talking with Jirard the Completionist, he did some good-natured ribbing on his own tendency to look at options menus first during WTF Is? (and FOV sliders in particular) by coming up with a hypothetical Let's Play channel called "TB Doesn't Complete It" ("the worst LP channel on the entire Internet"). It consists entirely of him looking at the options menu, fiddling with the FOV slider (or complaining if it isn't there) and then ending the video.
TB: "There is a statistical likelihood that I can 'bring it'. But there are certain inherent risks within the 'bringing it'. So I have to carefully consider the consequences of 'bringing it'. The conclusion so far is that it may be worthwhile to 'bring it.'"
Stealth Parody: He has clarified that his I Wanna Be the Guy Gaiden's video was a satire, and that it included lots of fake rage and Out of Character Moments in order to hint people about the true nature of the video. But much to his chagrin, no one understood the true joke, mostly because it was a genuinely funny video. The fact that he denied it halfway through with his, "No, this game is PAIN" quote didn't help.
Stockholm Syndrome: Brings this up whenever referring to the overly-defensive fanboys of The War Z, particularly when said defensiveness is juxtaposed around the...questionable approach to the game's release and advertising.
That One Level: Discussed in-universe with the entirety of "WTF Is Jane's Advanced Strike Fighters". The second level involves making risky low-level bombing runs in an extremely hilly area, without passing over a radar ceiling that ends the mission instantly. He spends the entire episode trying to get past this level.
invoked Will never ever post a Minecraft video due to the Fan Dumb: According to TB, once you go Minecraft, you never go back because of never ending fan demand. Funny enough, his wife, Intricacy, had her first Cynical Brit Community News video with Minecraft in the background, even lampshading how she's going against TB's "no Minecraft" rule.
Ditto for Heroes of Newerth. TB isn't going to cover it mostly because the community is so horrible, but especially because, when he'd done his first League of Legends video, he received a massive amount of hatemail from Heroes players insulting him and demanding him to cover their superior game instead. Yeah. Not too hard to believe.
TB no longer reads the YouTube comments in his videos because of the sheer amount of stupidity that resides there. He used to read them, but blocked them on his personal computer after his doctor told him they had given him stress-related illness. Now, his volunteer mods and his wife read them for him and relay the best and most frequent comments. Whenever he does occasionally read and respond to comments, it is like seeing chum thrown into a shark pool.
At this stage, the Skyrim community is nearing this point as well, as despite having stated on several occasions that he will not do Skyrim content (because he wouldn't be able to live up to the standard for content on his page (as well, he's outright stated that he just doesn't like Skyrim, so that's probably why), and also because everyone and their mother is doing it), he still gets tweets, Facebook messages and YouTube comments on whether or not he will do a WTF is... Skyrim.
It's gotten to the point where he has made a video solely to explain why he doesn't take requests. He called out a commenter for accusing him of being a jerk just because he stated, in a neutral tone, "I don't do requests". His explanation basically boils down to the fact that taking requests results in going straight down a slippery slope, would make it harder for him to do his job, and would just be a massive disservice to his viewers. Sadly, it's inevitable that some people will not get the point.
No longer does giveaways thanks to massive bile from a particularly vocal minority amongst the non-North Armerican viewerbase over a graphics card giveaway. Why were they angry? Because the giveaway was limited to North America due to contest laws varying wildly outside it and massive shipping costs across continents, which could very easilly have gone up to $1000. Once again, a case of a few bad apples spoiling the rest of the basket.
Some exceptions are made, usually where shipping is not an issue (i.e. giving away Steam keys for titles, such as Retro City Rampage.)
And now he's disabled the voting feature on Youtube's comments on all his videos.
Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Has an irregular show called this, and in a sense it fits the description of the trope: The show focuses on good and memorable games that didn't sell all that well because of either bad rep by review sites or questionable decisions by the developer. Like his "WTF is", this sometimes leads to a massive sales increase for a short while after.
Why Won't You Die?: Says this word for word after trying (and failing) several times to kill Lil' Skittles during the final match of the TGS Blood Bowl tournament.
You Keep Using That Word: Uses the term "8-bit" to describe any game with Retreaux graphics, despite the fact that most of them are actually representative of 16 and 32-bit systems.
Younger than They Look: If you estimate using his voice and the way he looks without his Nice Hat on here and here, it's easy to forget that he's actually younger than Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane of the Yogscast who were respectively born in 1983 and 1978.
My name's been TotalBiscuit, and I'll see you next time...