True to its titular identity, HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness takes viewers on a random creative bender, inserting elements of surrealism, verité documentary and conscious claymation. The late-night variety series is unlike any other work in this genre. Sure, there are comedic elements that’ll rumble in your tummy, but then there’s the way-too-real punch in the gut to finish you off.

In its second episode, “two piece and a biscuit,” we focus on the protagonist Terence’s (portrayed by creator Terence Nance) girlfriend, Najja (Dominique Fishback), as the viewer follows her via the camera when she decides to take a late-night walk to get some air. Or just to create some much-needed space from Terence, at whom she’s currently annoyed. In a tense sequence all-too-familiar for black women, a passerby attempts to holler. To the surprise of everyone—including Najja—the street harasser is zapped by an unknown weapon, and Najja gets to go about her merry way. Whew, if only.

Najja then heads to the arcade to let her hair down a little bit and have some fun. Among the games is one similar to Dance Dance Revolution, but instead of spastic foot moves, you have to have the rhythm of our ancestors; you know, making sure not to clap on the 1 and 3. In this scene, one particular game stands out, and that’s Kekubian Assassin. Created by Nelson Mandela Nance (who also wrote this episode) and derived from the Ancient Egyptian mythology of Kek, Kebubian Assassin is a first-person shooter game developed as a way for black women to defend themselves against aggressive street harassers.

Source: HBO
Source: HBO

In a brilliant “life imitates art, which imitates life” marketing strategy, Nelson developed an actual mobile game for us to play. While it’s not a first-person shooter with a gun, players are allowed to throw shade at harassers ranging from creepy guys to well-meaning-yet-still-harmful white women. Nelson sat down with Shadow and Act to talk about his inspiration behind the game, the theme of toxic masculinity in the series’ second episode and the reaction the game has received so far.

Along with the sociological components of the game, the episode got meaty once it touched on the concept of toxic masculinity. In a powerful sequence, the male characters lobbed street harassment microaggressions at each other, instead of at women, visually turning the problematic hetero-normative culture on its head.

From Nance’s perspective, timing had a lot to do with inserting this theme into the episode. “This time last year, there was just a lot going on in terms of toxic masculinity in the entertainment industry,” he recalled, citing Bill Cosby’s guilty verdict and revelations about Louis C.K.’s abusive habits.

“We were discussing [Louis C.K.’s] jokes, and how he makes these jokes about the creepy things he does and at some point in time, someone is going to call him out,” he continued. “Then, it happened. Even later in life, he was called out on it. It was around us at every turn. So, we discussed based on the climate at the time.”

Nance stressed how he wants the game to serve as a mirror or window to what is happening in the world, and he wants everyone to engage with it.

“I really want everybody to play the game. I really want people to see the barrage is real, and it’s uncomfortable. And, hopefully, people can change their understanding based on this virtual experience,” noted Nance. Here he also touched on the wide scope of sexual harassment, saying it ranges from an “annoyance” for some people and “life-threatening” for others.

The reaction to the game has been very positive, per Nance. “People are very into it; they’re very hooked on it,” he said, adding several people—friends and strangers alike—have sent him screenshots and recorded video of them playing the game, something that is certainly surreal for the creative by the incredulous chuckle he gives while talking about it. His smile is felt through the phone as he talked about how “playable” and “engaging” he wanted the game to be when designing it. He also hopes it becomes downloadable instead of direct-link only, which is something he believes fans would appreciate, too.

So, what’s next for Nance? “I don’t know, we gotta see; we’re still working on this project – season 2 has been approved, so we’re going to be going back to the drawing board at some point in time for that,” he confirmed. “There were some things in concept, but, you know, concepts are still concepts.”

Kekubian Assassin is free to play on mobile here.