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Photo story: Nintendo Wii launch night

Check out pictures from the midnight launch of the Nintendo Wii -- we were on hand at London stores HMV and Game as the excitement reached fever pitch

Midnight on 8 December 2006 marked the release of the most anticipated next-generation gaming console of the year, the Nintendo Wii. Hundreds queued outside Game and HMV on London's Oxford street to be among the first to purchase the new Nintendo machine.

The UK launch mirrored those of the Japanese and US markets and brought with it a clutch of celebrities, including ex-footballer Ian Wright, model Nell McAndrew, former tennis star Pat Cash and boxer Ricky Hatton who, incidentally, lost to Wright in a bout of Wii Boxing.

Wright later made a fool of himself by presenting the first Wii to HMV customer Marwan Elgamal (who had camped out for two days) and asking him if The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a fighting game. Down the road at Game, Vic Ainsworth was rewarded for being first in the queue with a console and a few glasses of champagne.

Check out the pictures from the launch to see how it all went down. -RR

This woman holds a sign to help round up punters outside HMV.  Seconds later she was trampled by a horde of Wii-hungry gamers.

With the promo girl safely underfoot, punters at the front of the queue wait patiently for the clock to strike midnight.

One excited young lady has brought a sign extolling the virtues of fresh Wii. We think it's a lady, anyway.

Boredom starts to set in, so a group of enterprising Wii-lovers pass the time by clocking up a few laps in Mario Kart DS.

The full extent of Wii mania becomes apparent as the queue stretches around the corner and into the distance.

Meanwhile, inside Game, one woman steadies her nerves for the imminent arrival of hundreds of gamers by pouring herself a drink or 40.

Hundreds of games and consoles line the floors of HMV. There's no room on the shelves, but who needs shelves when every single unit will be purchased over the next couple of hours?

Disaster strikes! This man appears to try and sneak off with a Wii, causing the entire pile to collapse in an explosion of noise. We hope they still work.

With the Wii pile reassembled, it's time to sort out the Zeldas. In just a short time, hundreds of people will forsake their social lives, friends and families in favour of the great Lord Nintendo.

With no Mario launch title for the Wii, it's left to Sega's mascot Sonic to help cuddle some warmth into the queueing hordes as they arrive.

The clock strikes midnight, the shutters raise and eager Nintendo fans crawl damn-near on their bellies to get to the Wii.

The first customers arrive, almost able to taste the Wii. Note the look of glee on their faces.

With cold, numb fingers, punters hand over their hard-earned cash to scoop up gaming's hottest property. Success!