Aaron LeMay and The Gamer’s Way — From Making Halo to Just Being Here to Help Humans
Some believe life is a game. Quite literally. Elon Musk was quoted as saying the chances of us not being in a simulation were billions to one. Scientific American has since published articles stating that the chances are 50/50, and most recently published a piece two days ago titled “Confirmed! We Live in a Simulation.”
Others see life as a game in a more philosophical, and even spiritual way. For Aaron LeMay, his worldview was formed as a child, while watching a small cluster of pixels bounce between the Atari Pong paddles that he and his father were controlling. He noted to his father that the returning of this digital ball between two parties was not unlike the volley of a conversation, or any other human interaction. It’s no surprise that a little kid with this type of insight would also become immersed in role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, and grow up to work on iconic blockbusters such as Halo.
Many years ago, a mutual friend connected Aaron and I after discovering that we were both fascinated by bridging elements of the digital and analog worlds. At the time, I was designing a system of 21 day on-boarding challenges for the HR division of a large corporation. Aaron had also built out a framework which included challenges for businesses, but framed around the game mechanics and philosophy that he had spent his life creating for big studios. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about.
The Gamer’s Way often encompasses the larger template of The Hero’s Journey, but is also filled with vernacular and actions unlikely to be heard from Joseph Campbell. The various ways of Leveling Up, seeking Unlocks, NPC (Non-Player-Character), and Grinding all lead to problem solving and uncovering happiness. If there’s one takeaway from how Aaron frames so much of these systems, I might sum it up as “not taking things so seriously.”
One of the things I enjoy the most are the “mini games,” or the games-inside-of-games. These are especially approachable for some of the younger practitioners of The Gamer’s Way that Aaron has worked with. Curiosity, empathy, mindfulness, and cultivating joy are not the first things that come to mind when most people think about a first person shooter, but in The Gamer’s Way, these qualities often embody the core tenets of the mission.
Today Arron can be found continuing to work on video game design, doing keynote speaking, workshops for those of all ages, corporate and personal coaching, and rendering beautiful illustrations for his own line of artisanal chocolates. As part of his framework, he even leads some clients through guided meditation. As we have discussed over the years of conversations we have had, sometimes solutions are as simple as changing the rules of the game. And if you cannot change the rules, you can always play a different game.