ESA Foundation

Renaissance Presence

Gordon Bellamy’s done it all—game developer, industry exec and leader, gay gaming pioneer. He’s also an ideal mentor.
 July 23, 2020

He’s not only a person, he’s a presence. His endless energy, insatiable intellect, thousand-watt smile—they fill up a room. No, a stadium. Speaking of, he loves electronic dance music. So if you’re thinking of calling him a “rock star,” better to go with “master DJ” or “DJ’s DJ.” Either way, Gordon Bellamy, who’s been in the video game industry for roughly 25 years, is legendary. His infectious enthusiasm and vast experience also make him an ideal mentor.

“I was fortunate enough to be mentored early on, so I know how important guidance and encouragement are,” says Bellamy. “I’m doing what I can to carry on that tradition. These students have a lot to offer, and, with some help, they will be valuable contributors, creators and leaders in the future. “

“I’m doing what I can to carry on that tradition. These students have a lot to offer, and, with some help, they will be valuable contributors, creators and leaders in the future. “

Gordon Bellamy, President and CEO of Gay Gaming Professionals

Bellamy fits into all three of those categories. Since graduating from Harvard University with an engineering degree, he’s worked with and for several high-profile companies, including MTV and Electronic Arts, where he was Rookie of the Year as a developer on Madden NFL. He’s also served as executive director of both the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and the International Game Developers Association, and is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California (USC). In 2018, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Game Developers Conference, and, in July of 2020, he was awarded Games for Change’s most prestigious honor, the Vanguard Award.

Perhaps most significantly, Bellamy is president and CEO of Gay Gaming Professionals (GGP), a nonprofit advocating for LGBTQ+ members of the video game industry. Last year, GGP partnered with the ESA Foundation to begin awarding scholarships to college students studying game development while actively supporting their queer communities. When the scholarship debuted, Bellamy called it “a joyful discovery” of the recipients’ contributions.

“Joyful” is a great way to describe Bellamy himself. The game-dev vet and former executive encourages students at USC and elsewhere, whatever their backgrounds, to express themselves through games while learning the skills necessary to thrive in a multi-billion-dollar industry. He does the same for “grownups” as well. And if there’s anyone who can teach an aspiring developer how to network, it’s the ubiquitous Bellamy.

Check out what these ESA Foundation scholars, both recipients of the LGBTQ+ service award, recently had to say about his mentorship:

When I first met him, Gordon struck me as passionate and driven. He’s extremely supportive of my interests and goals for the future, and he’s encouraged me to learn as much as possible about the industry. We’ve discussed what connections he has in Austin and how I can take advantage of opportunities there, including a tour of Wave, as I’ve taken an interest in VR and AR. Gordon has not only given me the chance to learn new skills, but also the encouragement to step out of my comfort zone and put forth my best efforts.

Audrey Webb, ESA Foundation Scholar and student at University of Texas-Austin

I find the mentor/mentee relationship with Gordon valuable because we share goals and life paths. Gordon worked for NASA in the past, and I aim to do the same sometime in the future as well. As a fellow queer person in the games industry, we share similar experiences. I've learned a lot about the industry through the eyes of the queer community.

Meha Magesh, ESA Foundation Scholar and student at University of Southern California

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