Many of you know him as Tolayts from that ridiculously famous telenovela O.T.W.O.L. back in 2015. Some of you may know him as “Boy Lobo” the motorcycle thief from that anti-piracy trailer in movie theaters. I know him as that guy who always appears on my Facebook feed, pointing out deals I shouldn’t miss out on or else regret it for the rest of my days as a fellow collector.
Nico Antonio is a well known actor in the local scene. He’s quite famous in some circles, but has also been a gamer since he was old enough to hold a controller. You really don’t see too many actors that are genuine gamers as well, and he’s been one ever since. With the rise of groups and social media, he’s been known to be quite the collector as well.
OMG sat down (virtually) with Nico to talk about his passion for spending money (aka collecting), his stories about being a collector, and about that time he got scolded on set for playing too much.
OMG: So, ala-tito Boy Abunda, who is Nico Antonio?
Nico (NA): My name is Jerico Antonio, but I’m mostly known by my screen name, Nico Antonio, or my famous character, “Tolayts”. I like playing JRPG’s, Beat ’em ups and hack and slash games. I started out when I was 6 when my mom and I used to play Battle City together.
OMG: Ahh, at last, someone from my age group, hahaha! As a gamer from the 80’s/90’s, my favorite genre has to be JRPG’s, since a lot of the classics really came from around this time. How about you, what’s your favorite genre?
NA: My favorite genre is JRPG too! Some of my favorite RPG’s are Tales of Destiny (PS1), Dragon Quest 11 (Switch), Final Fantasy X (PS2), Final Fantasy 8 (PS1), and YS: Memories of Celceta (Vita). There’s just something about the characters and their adventures that make for a memorable experience.
OMG: Personally, I never really got into “Collecting” until I had the money to do so, but when I started, I couldn’t stop! Can you tell us a bit about how you got into collecting and does your partner support your hobby?
NA: I started collecting when I got to play Dragon Quest 7. I told myself “Hey this is pretty good!” So, I tried looking for the rest of the games, and was surprised at how much they cost. The rest of it, along with my money, is history, as they say. My wife supports me to a certain point… She always asks me when am I going to sell my collection, and I don’t really know when it is a joke or not anymore. I also tell her that in case I am the first to “go” *knocks on wood*, she should check out price listings before selling my collection.
OMG: That’s exactly the same thing I told my wife when she asked me what’s the use of all of these boxes piled around the house. I keep telling her that “It’s for you guys”, she doesn’t understand. Nobody ever does.
I’m the type of collector who only purchases games that I would personally play, so it goes without saying that my collection is no longer sealed and brand new. How about you?
NA: If I feel that a certain game will become expensive in the future, I keep them sealed. I guess there’s just something about having a rare piece of history in your possession that’s very fulfilling to us collectors. For Nintendo published games though, I open and play them on day 1, no questions asked!
OMG: That would probably be my answer as well, but my wallet tells me otherwise, so I really can’t afford to purchase items just for the sake of collecting them. Speaking of your collection, what is that one game in your library that was your toughest get?
NA: Not the toughest, but I would say the most surreal experience in acquiring a game. I bought this pre owned Bayonetta Climax Edition for only PHP5,000. I asked the seller how much it was and he told me that he was willing to give it to me for its original price. I was skeptical at first because hello?! Bayonetta Climax Edition! One of the most sought after Switch games for only PHP5,000?!?! In the end, he kept true to his word and from then on, I could say that I’m indeed a “Collector”.
OMG: So it was you who snagged that deal! I saw that before and couldn’t believe my eyes. I was too late obviously, but I’ve never seen a deal as good as that anymore, everybody is trying to make a quick buck these days. Since we’re on the topic of price, what’s the most expensive game in your collection?
NA: Easy, my best piece is Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. It is also my most expensive game in the collection, and if I’m not mistaken, it can go for around $500 or more on eBay.
OMG: When the pandemic is all over, I’ll need to do a house raid! Back to Nico (the actor) for a bit. Some people may not know that you are an actor as well, do you get to talk games with your fellow actors too? Are any of them gamers like you and do you have something like “game night” sessions with your colleagues?
NA: Some of them are also gamers but not console users, like Paulo Avelino. He prefers PC gaming over console, so whenever I play my 3DS in the standby area during our shoots, he always takes a quick look at what I’m playing. He’s also a gamer at heart.
OMG: Do you also play online games? Is there anyone in the industry that you get to connect with as a gamer? A fellow actor that shares your passion for gaming and collecting, maybe someone like Michael V.?
NA: Every once in awhile, I play coop games, like Streets of Rage 4, with my HS classmate who’s based in the US. When I used to play Let’s Go, Eevee, I tried using the online aspect of it to either trade Pokemons that I don’t have or help them to evolve. But other than those reasons, I don’t really do much online gaming.
As for playing with my fellow actors, I could say that I’m a lone wolf… Lol! But I did play Ice Climber that one time with Angelica Panganiban and Joross Gamboa when we shot “Ang Dalawang Mrs Reyes” in Taiwan back in late 2017. Good times!
OMG: As an actor, what video game role can you see yourself playing as if a video game movie were to be made? I’m very skinny, so any skeleton-related character from any game would be my character. How about you?
NA: Well, if I were to choose, I’ll go all out! I’ve always had a fascination with Dragon Ball, so I want to be Vegeta, I think he’s badass and one of the strongest characters in the series.
OMG: As a gamer, we all have our own “gamer meal”. I go with the classic pancit canton + coke (recently, Dr. Pepper in my case) combo, since it was my staple order way back Counterstrike and Ragnarok online days. Do you have your own version of the gamer meal?
NA: Bread with cheese and a glass of water. I’m a simple guy, as long as I’m not hungry and my tummy has food, I can play all day!
OMG: You mentioned earlier that you sometimes bring your Nintendo DS to shoots. By any chance, did you ever get scolded by the director for playing too much? Tell us a story!
NA: Yes, of course! I was doing “A Babae Sa Septic Tank 3” and one time, I was caught by my director playing a game while he was giving instructions. Mea culpa… I should not have done it. No excuses. Hi Direk, sorry na!
OMG: In true actor fashion, we’ll end this interview with some sort of “Fast Talk” segment but gamer style!
- Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest? Dragon Quest!
- Nintendo DS or Switch? Switch!
- PlayStation or Xbox? PlayStation.
- Aerith or Tifa? Tifa.
- Resident Evil or Silent Hill? Silent Hill.
- Remake or Remaster? Remake, as long as it’s done right!
- Mario or Sonic? Mario.
- If you were looking at a magic mirror, what you would say to yourself? “Please stop spending too much!”
- Lights on or lights off (while playing)? Lights on. :p
OMG: Where can we see more of you? Do you have any upcoming projects that you would us to check out?
NA: I just finished doing “Daig Ka Ng Lola Ko”, which will be shown every Sunday 7-8pm starting July 18 on GMA7, so you can catch me there soon!