Here’s what happened to Vimm’s Lair after Nintendo crackdown

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Another emulation site has been hit with takedown requests from big gaming companies as Vimm’s Lair was forced to remove many games on behalf of Nintendo, Lego, Sega, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Vimm’s Lair has been around since 1997. It’s one of the longest-running ROM sites on the internet and has housed ROMs and manuals taken from various games and consoles. The site has an assortment of materials spanning from Atari 2600 to WiiWare. But it seems that many of those ROMs are now leaving the site as a result of legal threats.

The aforementioned companies have been cracking down on emulation sites for years now, with Nintendo being the leader of the bunch. It wasn’t so long ago that Emuparadise was hit with a lawsuit by Nintendo. Vimm’s Lair was hit with a takedown request and has chosen to go along with it.

What happened to Vimm’s Lair?

Vimm’s Lair was asked by Nintendo, Lego, Sega, and the ESA to take down ROMs of many of their games that were available on the website.

In a post on the front page of Vimm’s Lair, the site owner said that many of the games from the aforementioned companies would be taken down indefinitely.

“While most of these games (and the hardware to play them) haven’t been sold in decades, ultimately it’s their prerogative so these games are now gone for good,” the site owner said.

Vimm’s Lair did not provide a list of the games that were removed. Browsing the site, there are some games published by Nintendo such as Star Fox and Star Fox 2 that are still available. Games such as Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64 are removed, however. All Phoenix Wright games that were available on the site were also removed, leaving enforcement looking inconsistent for the time being.

Nintendo has tapped into emulation with the introduction of the now-defunct Virtual Console line of games. These games were available on the Wii, Wii U, and the family of the 3DS systems.

To the frustration of fans, games purchased for emulation on one console have not yet carried on to others. If a player owned Super Mario World for the Wii, they don’t retain rights to it on the Nintendo Switch. This has led to increased frustration with the Japanese company’s crackdown on ROM distribution.

In September 2018, Nintendo introduced Nintendo Switch Online. The service allows players to play old games on their Switch. As of writing, players who are subscribed to the plan can play games from the NES, SNES, GBA, N64, and the Sega Genesis. Which games are available is up to Nintendo, however. Many favorites remain outside of the service, and there’s no added benefit for players who’ve already purchased the games.

Apple has recently allowed emulators to enter its App Store. Vimm alluded to this by posting an update regarding the site crashing due to the number of visitors after that change.

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Written by Cedric Pabriga

Cedric Pabriga is a freelance writer who mostly covers fighting games, RPGs, and gaming industry news. If he's not working online, he's either playing games with his friends or listening to music. Sometimes both. His work has been seen at IGN, Dot Esports, and You can follow him on all socials, including Twitter / X, at @IchikaRika.

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