Google me. No, literally, Google “Kyle Fitzpatrick”: what do you get?
A lot of times when people Google themselves, they see people with the same name from around the world who are doing better in life than they are. Me? Not entirely true. Yes, there is a Philly based tattoo artist and a pro disc golf player and a New York City based CPA—but those don’t come up first. I don’t even come up first.
What has been stealing my SEO thunder is a fictional character most people haven’t heard of as he was a very, very minor character—but large plot point—in the classic 2007 video game Bioshock. In the game, Kyle Fitzpatrick is a piano player involved with the underwater dystopian universe of Rapture, where mad artist Sander Cohen reigns over Fort Frolic (Level 7, essentially.) and inspires a series of demented tasks that involve killing other artists.
Kyle Fitzpatrick is one of them.
In his big scene, you stumble upon Kyle Fitzpatrick in the middle of an empty theatre where he plays a beautiful, lively song while wearing a bird mask. At some point, he breaks down, crying and begging, and you realize that this might be his final performance. The song is “Cohen’s Scherzo #7″—also dubbed “Cohen’s Masterpiece,” maybe by fans—that ends with Kyle Fitzpatrick bursting into flames. “The burden of the artist is to…capture,” Cohen speaks as Kyle Fitzpatrick’s body burns. His death is one of the many at the hands of Sander Cohen and certainly the flashiest. Once you witness it, you’re given a crossbow and have to continue on exploring Fort Frolic.
This moment should be a throwaway. No one should have cared about this more than me because we share the same name. However, I didn’t even catch the matching monikers when I played it: watching this Kyle Fitzpatrick burn was simply exposition, a scene to get you somewhere or something else in the game. If I could have fast forwarded through it, I would have.
That’s not what’s happened though. This very minor character has evolved into a strange fan fiction figure that there are Tumblrs and Tumblrs and Tumblrs devoted to. The first, most sensical, obsession with Kyle Fitzpatrick is that he might actually be another character from a future game. As the video above details, Kyle Fitzpatrick might just be the person inside of the final Bioshock‘s villain suit, Songbird from Bioshock Infinite. If that is true, this small character would be huge in the game’s canon. He would be one of the most important figures created in Bioshock.
The strangest part of this Kyle Fitzpatrick connection is that many have devoted hours and countless art pieces to him depicting his homosexual relationship with Sander and his boys despite the character having so few lines, none of which relate to his sexuality. It’s unbelievable but it’s all true: Tumblrs like this have existed for years to share theories and art about this character. He’s often referred to as “Cohen’s Bitch” and an affectionate femme boy. It’s confusing, yes, but here is a breakdown of his relationships.
Even more curious is the artwork dedicated to the character. There are scenes with him and older men with the description “Kyle’s interests include snuggling w as many older men at once as possible.” There are topless photos of Sander’s men with Kyle as the smallest, described as “a delicate flower that needs to be fed more.” There are some women involved but most appear to be associates: his relationship with women is complicated and, as the fandom has proven, none are worthy of tabloid fodder.
The (Deviant™) artwork dedicated to this character are what make this tale so sublime. There are timelines of his story and sexuality, infantile cartoon commissions, and painted impressions of the game. It all seems to coalesce around Manic Teacup, a female artist named Rebecca based in the United States who runs the top Kyle Fitzpatrick Tumblr and is a huge Bioshock fan. Even after all these years—nearly ten since the game come out—the love of this character continues, all of which revolves around the name “Kyle Fitzpatrick.”
On the eve of the remastered Bioshock trilogy’s release, this character comes to mind for obvious reasons. He’s so similar to me—gay, artsy, into video games—but, unlike me, he’s gathered a following because of his being a tortured artist designed to speak only a few lines before bursting into flames. Yet, he has been recast as a lover and fighter, a queer gaming figure who represents sensitivity and softness amidst greed. In a game like Bioshock that offers dark scares and wet thrills, Kyle Fitzpatrick is a flamboyant figure who doesn’t belong and, for a lot of gamers, that’s a relatable situation to be in.