There was Once a U.S. National Video Game Team, and This Guy Was Its Captain

Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

A leader of a national team of athletes could reasonably expect to make a few endorsements or appearances, and in his day, Donn Nauert had his. Whether supplying a pro's advice on Gradius or judging a video gaming triathlon, the captain of the U.S. National Video Game Team offered confidence, rectitude and, of course, a telegenic thumbs-up and winning smile perfect for the 1980s.

Nauert, in this video compiled by Scott Patterson, gives us an unironic introduction to the Konami Code and pitches the Atari 7800—whose $20 games in 1986 translate roughly to a $40 title today. In the finale, Nauert judges some kind of televised gaming event. His duties seem no more complicated than slipping a USNVGT jacket on the shoulders of the winner as he is cheered on by his Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers in the audience.


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