Lego might have Prince of Persia, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter, but rival building toy K’NEX has enlisted a licensing partner that may make gamers take notice. K’NEX and Nintendo have inked a deal that lets the construction-toy manufacturer create sets based on Nintendo’s Mario Kart Wii, with appearances from characters such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, and Bowser. And if you guessed that K’NEX is excited, you’re absolutely correct.

“Our partnership with Nintendo is a win-win,” said Michael Araten, president of K’NEX Brands. “It lets K’NEX bring popular and recognizable characters to life in a new way and provides an opportunity for kids to interact with Nintendo outside of the gaming console.”

The sets should be hitting shelves in 2011 and will include vehicles and other elements from the popular kart racer. If you haven’t been following K’NEX lately, the NASCAR pics above should provide at least a fuzzy idea of how the company deals with toy replicas of motorized vehicles. Here's hoping K'NEX does a better job of capturing the essence of Nintendo's characters than it did with its Sesame Street line. Those things are seriously scary.