Howdy, y’all! Last time we visited my workplace, we took a look at some really great desk toys courtesy of Hasbro. Namely, Transformers Scout Class figures. These were perfect desk toys for all the right reasons, from articulation to complexity.

Today I’d like to look at a toy that might not be so good for your desk. I didn’t know that K’Nex had acquired the Mario License until I stumbled across one looking for Kre-O’s at TRU.

Grab your cap and blue overalls. “It’s plumbin’ time!”


Thank Caprica that’s not his catch-phrase. Can you imagine?

Anyhoo, the build of the set isn’t very difficult, but it did have me scratching my head a few times as I’ve never put a K’Nex set together in my life. I honestly didn’t even know they had little mans and Lego-style bricks in their repertoire. I thought they were all like sticks and weak joints that were so delicate once you finished all you could do was look at it and weep while your childhood burned off you like butter from a frying pan.

Turns out those connection points are the strongest on the toy and it’s the bricks that like to fall apart all the time. Go figure. The part I have trouble with the most is the body popping off the engine, so Mario spends a lot of time dragging ass instead of tapping it. Weak, Mario.

You are so dumb.
Shut up, Voice.

Mario actually has a larger scale than I would have guessed from the pictures. I assumed he was as tiny as a standard Lego guy, but as you can see he’s nearly as tall as a Minimate.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have that same awesome articulation which brings us to point one of why he’s not such a great desk toy.

Mario’s got a swivel neck, shoulders, wrists, waist, and hips. That’s fine for a lil Lego dude (though I prefer Mega Bloks), but like I said he’s as big as a Minimate. I’m a firm believer that, construction-wise, any joint you can make a swivel out of you could make a ball and socket joint out of.

We don’t have action figures of our classic video game heroes like Mario and Luigi, so this would have been a great opportunity for K’Nex to go the extra mile and really make this fun to pose and play with. With his enormous hydrocephalic head weighing him down, he can really only stand straight up or sit flat on his keester.

The bike has free-spinning wheels which allow it to roll very smoothly. The handlebars can turn either left or right, but with his short swivel arms he can’t really operate them or do much more than look left or right as he rides. It’s not going to offer you up much fun just sitting there. It’s a great conversation piece, but I like to fiddle with the toys on my desk when I have down time. Conversatin’s an option, but I’d rather be playing or posing.

Now, understand that while this isn’t the best for a desk toy, it’s still a great toy in its own right. This is the closest you’re going to get to a Mario action figure until Nintendo wises up to the collectible world of toys, and you basically get the most instantly recognizable video game star of all time AND his ride in one pack.

Which brings us to our second point.

Brand Recognition
Mario may not have the international print appeal of Spider-Man, but I honestly don’t think he’s too far behind in the fame category. You combine that with one of the most popular construction toys of all time (bricks) and you’ve got a pocket slut on your desk waiting to walk off with the first bloke who fancies him.

I have a somewhat public office in that during critical times of the day our shared office has a lot of people from other departments running in and out of it, so I do have to be aware of things that attract wandering eyes. I seriously doubt I could leave this on my desk for more than a few days without it going walkabout.

I would just hide the thing, but I don’t think the ghost of Peter Falk approves.

Wrap it up, B
Mind your biz-trash, Voice. Ain’t nobody talking to you.

All said, the new K’Nex Mario Kart sets are available at TRUs. I haven’t spotted ‘em elsewhere yet. They’re really nice if just a teeny bit overpriced. I think mine was 7 or 8 bucks. Not bad.

Still, in terms of lasting fun factor and security, you might want to keep this one at home. He’s fun for a bit, but in the long-run all he’s really got going for him is that he can roll great distances if you don’t have piles of folders and toolbags and other crap on your desk like I do.

This has been Desk (Un)friendly by Wesitron. You know the drill. Holla!

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