PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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So, I am a little confused with this topic.

If you try to play a Pokemon game on a 3ds without an SD card in your ds then it will not let you play. That makes you think that you can't save the game unless you have an SD card in, right? And then that makes you think that all the save data will be saved onto the SD card, right?

But if you put a cartridge that has played the game into a different 3ds with a different SD card, then it will put you where you left off. So what is saved to the SD card?

Sorry if this question is not allowed.

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I think the sd card is where stuff like pictures or battle replays or anything similar is saved. I think that the save file itself is on the cartridge
The save file itself is on the cartridge, that much i can confirm. I have multiple copies of the same game.

Im not sure about why the SD card, tho
You're both right. Only the game files and Save Data are stored on the cartridge, everything else (like snapshots or replays) goes on the SD card.

Not letting you play without an SD card is possibly just a precaution so the game doesn't crash when trying to access the SD card.
Flagging because it's possible that this is more of a question about how the system itself works, rather than Pokemon, though I'm not sure.
This might have something to do with update data being saved on the SD card? I'm not positive, though
The update data is on the SD card, and most 3DS games that have updates don’t allow access to save files that are updated when the update data isn’t installed, but some allow access to other files that weren’t played on from an update or made on the current, updateless system if the game sports more than 1 save file.

As for not letting you play it period, it probably has to do with the game running a retrieval function when loading lists of replays or 3DS friends, and many computer programs run into problems when trying to retrieve data from a source that doesn’t exist, so it is likely that Nintendo’s 3DS convention contains the inability to access as a requirement for games that access the SD without one, but I haven’t a source for most of that.
I do, however, notice other 3DS games that react similarly. :P
This is a question about Pokemon because the data that is saved to the SD card is probably different for every game.

So when I first got my 3ds in 2014 and got pokemon x as my first video game it would not let me open the game until I put an SD card in my ds. I had to run back to GameStop and get one

1 Answer

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On the 3DS, the game's save file is directly stored in the cartridge. However, any extra data, such as photos from the Alola Photo Club, are saved to the SD card. This is the reason. Why they couldn't just let you play without the SD and just disable the ALPC, idk, that's GameFreak. The sources I used are down below.

The Alola Photo Club has been introduced, which allows players to take photos with the Pokémon in their party. These photos can then be edited with stickers, posted to the Pokémon Global Link, or saved to the 3DS's SD card. The player also has the option of doing an impromptu photoshoot after a Pokémon in their...

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Thanks, thats what I thought