Is Vimm’s Lair Safe? Do I Have To Use Vpn To Download It? (+Other Tips)

Vimm’s Lair has been a mainstay for the retro-console gaming community since 1997. Driven by the love of nostalgia and “preserving the classics,” the non-profit site supplies downloads for most of your favorite console games.

Throughout its existence, Vimm’s Lair has tried to exclude viruses and malicious behavior from its site. 

However, that has not stopped the website from being marred by negative stereotypes surrounding its security. 

This leaves us with the question – is Vimm’s Lair safe to use? Let’s see…

Do you have a particular question about the safety of Vimm’s Lair? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

What’s Vimm’s Lair?

Vimm’s Lair offers “The Vault,” a library of games from beloved consoles, including:

  • Nintendo 64;
  • Playstation;
  • Xbox 360;
  • GameBoy;
  • Many more. 

The website features thousands of game files, full manual scans, user reviews, and ratings. Along with these downloads, there’s an extensive catalog of emulators for each console where games are available. Since 26% of the people playing video games in the US are aged between 34 and 54, it’s no surprise why Vimm’s Liar is so popular. 

How does Vimm’s Lair work?

After you find a classic game you’d like to play, you’ll need to choose an emulator, which can all be found in the “Emulation Lair.” These are available in downloads for Mac and Windows. Once downloaded, simply:

  1. Search for the game you want to play;
  2. Download the PC ROM file of the game;
  3. Open your chosen emulator;
  4. When asked for the game file, select the ROM you just downloaded.

It’s easy to start playing your game downloads from Vimm’s Lair. 

However, you might be asking just how safe Vimm’s Lair is and if you should download anything from it.

Are there cybersecurity threats on Vimm’s Lair?

The general consensus online is that Vimm’s Lair is safe to use. The site supposedly performs regular, comprehensive scans of all files and links to ensure user protection. 

Unfortunately, on sites such as these, cyber threats are still ever-present.

Phishing links and downloads can sneak past the site’s virus scans, including viruses. Hacked ROMs are common too, which only need to be played through an emulator before releasing trojan horse malware onto your PC. 

7 safety tips for using Vimm’s Lair

Before diving into the retro-charged nostalgia offered by Vimm’s Lair, think twice and consider possible threats. 

Below are the cyber security methods you’ll need to ensure your safety while using Vimm’s Lair. 

#1. Always browse Vimm’s Lair through a VPN

Before surfing through the Vimm’s Lair library, setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the best precaution. A VPN works by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the server. Any data that moves to and from become undecipherable.

This helps with a few security issues while using Vimm’s Lair:

  • Your browsing activity will be hidden from your ISP, keeping your history private;
  • If you’re led to a suspicious site, snoops will be unable to read your private data;
  • A VPN disguises your IP address, effectively masking your real location.

There’s a multitude of VPNs to choose from nowadays. Find out more about Surfshark vs. ExpressVPN and compare the two leaders in the industry. While it’s not utterly comprehensive protection, VPNs go a long way in securing your private information.

#2. Pick an emulator you can trust

Before you download the first one you see, it’s essential to know why your choice of emulator matters. A ROM file can contain viruses, but it’s not an executable file. This means the virus can’t be launched by you, but it can be by your emulator.

Certain emulators lack essential patches, and these software vulnerabilities are well-known to hackers. This way, viruses on ROM files can use these exploits to launch a cyberattack on your computer.

So what do you do about it?

For added peace of mind, ensure your emulator of choice is regularly patched and maintains a strong history of cyber safety.

#3. Keep all of your software updated 

Once you’ve found your chosen emulator, regularly update it. This applies to all software you’re running. A virus hidden on a ROM file often relies on the security flaws in its surrounding programs.

For now, about every third person ignores the necessity of software update. Hacks through outdated software are a common occurrence but is an easy issue to mitigate. By keeping your software up to date, you maintain the latest protections against current cyber threats. 

#4. Only download from the official site 

Vimm’s Lair claims to perform regular security scans, maintaining a safe catalog on their site. This is already a lot more than other ROM sites offer. While this doesn’t mean Vimm’s Lair is virus-free, more danger comes when downloading from other websites.

Be wary of copycat websites, often with a similar name, offering free downloads. Any page resembling Vimm’s Lair without the official domain of could be a phishing trap. Download ROMs exclusively from Vimm’s Lair to bypass these obvious threats.

#5. Run antivirus checks periodically 

Ideally, this is a measure you’ve been using for a long time. Yet, a 2022 study finds that almost 1 in 4 people don’t use antivirus software. If this includes you, then it’s time to consider installing an antivirus program. There are countless options to try.

Not only it protects against malware entering your system, but you can also scan each download before opening it. In addition to monitoring your downloads, we advise running entire system virus scans at least once weekly. 

#6. Beware of suspicious ROM downloads

Vimm’s Lair regularly scans its catalog and links, which sounds nice, but rarely is this foolproof. The majority of download links on the site remain safe. However, you only need one wrong link to ruin your fun.

Exercise caution with any link you follow, download from, or otherwise. Hackers are skilled at delivering payloads via links that appear legitimate. As with any other download, ensure you thoroughly research and trust your download source.

#7. Keep backups 

Cybersecurity precautions protect you from the majority of threats you can encounter on sites like Vimm’s Lair. However, hacking methods have become more sophisticated, so it’s critical to back up your private information.

Up-to-date and secure backups are a necessity in these scenarios. Unfortunately, most viruses and malware tend to corrupt an entire system, leaving you with only one option – reformat your computer and delete everything. 

A cloud-based backup solution is your saving grace should your PC or other device be corrupted. They’re easy to access and maintain and guarantee your data will be safe in an emergency.


Vimm’s Lair has been a treasured part of the retro-console gaming community for decades. Naturally, countless users will argue about the overall safety of the site. However, the chances of cyber attacks are still plausible.

By knuckling down on the safety principles outlined in this article, your retro-gaming experience will be protected against many cyber threats.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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