Edward Yang, John Liu, Kevin Nguyen, and Jack Gao at Hack the NorthOpen Pokemon from left to right: Kevin Nguyen, John Liu, Edward Yang, Jack Gao

UWaterloo students place in the top ten at Hack the North 

A team of four UWaterloo students are helping Pokemon fans everywhere relive their 90's childhood dream of becoming a real life Pokemon Master.

Open Pokemon was built at Hack the North by Math students Edward Yang, John Liu, Kevin Nguyen and Jack Gao in September. The mobile app proved popular and ended up placing in the top ten.

Open Pokemon allows the player to play the classic Nintendo game in real life. Using the GPS coordinates on your phone, as you walk around the city, random Pokemon will spawn based on your location. You can then battle and catch the Pokemon. You can also battle nearby friends with your team. All battles are voice-activated, so if you say "Pikachu, use thunderbolt", your Pikachu will do just that.

The four student developers have enjoyed participating in many hackathons in the United States, so when Hack the North was announced right here at UWaterloo, it was an obvious choice to participate.

Hack the North gathers over 1000 of the brightest students across the world to stay up for 36 hours straight and build something cool. “Hack” refers to hacking something together. Participants can use anything - hardware, software, graphics - to build something that wows the judges.

Open Pokemon member Jack Gao believes Hack the North is important for the local hacking community here at UWaterloo. "It is a demonstration that we have the engineering prowess to compete with the best in the world. My peers can build amazing things - at start-ups, at established companies and at hackathons."