TWO North East gamers have joined forces in an attempt to put the region on the map when it comes to creating and developing software for video games.

Lisa Meek from County Durham and Sunderland-based Steph Farnsworth are looking to inspire the next generation of young people and connect those that have the potential to change the course of gaming.

Steph, who launched an innovative new gaming network after being inspired by digital play’s power to educate, is about to hold her very first conference, connecting researchers from across the globe.

Read more: WARNING: Speed cameras now live on A1 and A1(M) in the North East

The Sunderland gamer is the brains behind Multiplay, a platform for education researchers, sociologists and media and gaming scholars to collaborate and share their ideas and expertise – with the ultimate aim of establishing gaming as an area of study in the North East and beyond.

Since its launch in July last year, Multiplay has gone from strength to strength, attracting the attention of experts worldwide; experts who will be speaking at the network’s first conference, which is being held online on Wednesday, January 19.

Steph, 31, who is studying a gaming PhD at the University of Sunderland, examining mutants in science fiction and video games, said: “It's going to be a full day of people experienced in games studies sharing their expertise.

The Northern Echo: Steph Farnsworth has developed Multiplay; a platform for education researchers. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND. Steph Farnsworth has developed Multiplay; a platform for education researchers. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND.

“There will be speakers from around the world - the UK, Mexico, Ghana, and America. Different voices giving different ideas about the power of gaming and how video games can challenge or confront the different power dynamics in society.

“We want to show that games studies are invaluable, that they can reinvigorate universities. We also really want to showcase new ideas, which is why we've got early career researchers presenting alongside more established names.

Also speaking at the event is Media and Cultural Studies MA graduate, Lisa.

Read more: Darlington care company HC-One fined after resident choked to death

The 27-year-old will talk about a specific theme in her research for her MA Dissertation, looking at theories surrounding dwelling in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Lisa, who is hoping to start her gaming PhD at the University this year, said: “Video games are a key form of media and central to daily life.

“Most people game and it doesn’t have to be on a top of the range PC or a new series of console – it can just be playing Candy Crush on your phone while you’re on the bus.

“Video games both influence and are influenced by culture and deserve to get the same kind of attention in academia as other forms of media like film, radio and TV.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054