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Game fans queue for Wii U console

Nintendo has launched its eagerly anticipated Wii U in the UK - the first major home console launch since 2006.

Close to 300 fans queued outside HMV's Oxford Street store in London, which hosted the official midnight launch following the US release earlier this month, a spokesman for Nintendo said.

HMV ensured it was well-stocked for the launch following high demand for pre-orders.

The Wii U features the GamePad controller, a tablet-type device that allows users to continue playing after the connected television has been turned off or switched to another channel. The controller boasts a 6.2in touchscreen display and a three to five-hour battery life.

Among the games expected to be best-sellers are ZombiU, which carries an 18 age restriction, Nintendo Land - the Wii Sports for the new console - and New Super Mario Bros U.

The console has received mixed reviews in the US, with most concerns surrounding the amount of games that will be available to justify the minimum 250 cost.

Others have mentioned the controller's weak battery performance, a lack of stand-out launch games and frustrating menus and online services.

Four men had camped outside the store since Saturday to ensure they would be the first to lay their hands on the console.

But the majority of the crowd joined the queue on Thursday evening, entertained by a DJ set and gaming experts.

Nintendo UK marketing director Shelly Pearce said: "We can't wait to get the Wii U into the hands of our fans in the UK and are delighted to be partnering with HMV on this exciting night."

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