My wife and I bought an Animal Crossing: New Leaf Special Edition 3DS-XL for my daughter. We are wondering if there is a way to have separate saves (separate towns) so that each of us can have our OWN town and each be a mayor.

I've found conflicting reports so far as to whether you can make saves to separate SD cards and I'm not familiar with how game saves work on a 3DS. Is there any way that each of us can have our own experience, and not just all be citizens in the same town?

In case it helps, Animal Crossing: New Leaf comes pre-installed on this special edition 3DS-XL.

  • As a request before we try to tackle this question: could you visit the Nintendo eShop and confirm that your 3DS can redownload Animal Crossing from there for free? If there is an answer to this question, it very likely isn't supported by Nintendo and may potentially end with you losing data. Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 4:10
  • We bought it for my daughter's birthday, which is about a month away, so I can't check that right now. We did ask the employee at GameStop who said that we would be able to re-download it if she accidentally deleted it. I was hoping someone would be able to give a definitive answer though, without having to experiment on her 3DS.
    – Weezle
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 4:14

6 Answers 6


You can not have multiple save files of individual towns on the same 3DS system.

Every time you save your game it generates a new, random "Save ID" and stores that ID in both the SD/Savegame and the 3DS's system memory. Trying to load a save with mismatched IDs will result in being forced to wipe the save.

This prevents two things:

  1. Having two towns with one copy of the game by using two SD cards.
  2. Reverting to an older backed up save to undo changes you aren't happy with.


I have personally tested this (having purchased a 3DS and transferring to 3DSXL- my game was cleared since the save data and the system ID did not match). Prior to this, we attempted backing up the SD data, erasing it from the SD and attempted a new save file on the same digital copy. This also resulted in the ID conflict. I have contacted Nintendo on this matter causing an inability to back up data. I am yet to hear a followup reply.

In the case of mismatched IDs, the game will load with a "corrupted data" error. This forces the system to erase any save data associated with the digital download- and any backed up save file will no longer work for AC:NL.

  • 1
    Oh crap, so not even the system transfer tool can transfer ACNL data properly, or do you mean you just moved the SD card without that tool and THAT wipes it?
    – Zelda
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 17:01
  • There was a recent update that (if deleting the file from the SD card completely) allowed for a backup of save data for use if you need to redownload the software. I'm not sure if this is an oversight- or even if it's functional in this case. If I do end up needing to try it, I'll gladly update you. :)
    – Dandichu
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 3:33
  • Is that feature separate from the "copy save data" feature that's on most downloadable titles? I heard ACNL doesn't support the standard copy feature
    – Zelda
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 13:19
  • The question covers more than just save files. What about differing towns, differing mayoral-ships, on one device?
    – Bob
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 13:32

It's not possible with one game unfortunately...

You can however use multiple ACNL game carts on one system, including physical versions and digital versions, (I am currently using a physical "cart" version and a digital version on the same system, at the same time).

Seems each unique game creates a unique save-ID, your only option is to buy more copies of the game. Don't worry about conflicts between digital and physical versions though, there are none.

Something to bare in-mind is, only one game per 3DS can receive certain spotpass items. Happy gaming.


You can have multiple saves but you will need multiple SD cards. If you have enough SD cards then you could download the game on each one and switch the SD card when someone else wants to play.

  • Dandichu's answer says that this is not the case and links to another forum confirming their answer. Can you provide proof that your answer is correct and theirs isn't?
    – Weezle
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 16:22

Based on my experience from NDS Animal Crossing, that is not possible unless you have another cartridge. (Or keep swapping your copy of preinstalled AC:NL having different filenames, theorically I guess.)

And no I don't have a 3DS to confirm this for you, but I strongly suggest to play the same town together. It'll be much more fun. Yet of course, I do see your point to have your own play/town. Good luck and hopefully someone else who got the digital copy of it can share some lights.

  • 4
    The first DS animal crossing isn't relevant, it recorded data on the cart, while in this case the game is digital and all save data would have to be on the SD card.
    – Zelda
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 15:35

You can have multiple files, but all files have the same town and only the first file is the mayor. Other files just count as villagers. I don't know if the other files count toward the total number of villagers you can have.

  • 1
    This does not answer the question. The OP is referring to literal save files to be stored on the SD Card, not the four player save slots to be used within the game. Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 20:55

Only 1 person can be the mayor and others can be citizens but no you can not all be the mayor for different towns.

  • This does not answer the OP's question. The original question is referencing SD save files, not the types of players (mayor/citizen) in town.
    – Dandichu
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 3:32

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