Distributed content, also known as downloadable content (DLC), in the Animal Crossing series refers to items and other content distributed by Nintendo, usually over the internet. Distributed items have appeared in some form in every Animal Crossing game since Animal Crossing.
In Animal Crossing
In Animal Crossing, some items were distributed in the form of secret codes. Codes for items in the Mario Theme as well as the Mario Trophy and Luigi Trophy were published in issues of Nintendo Power from 2003 to 2004, and some were featured on the game's official website.
In Wild World
- Item list: Distributed items/Wild World
In Animal Crossing: Wild World, six items from the Mario Theme as well as all six monkey villagers were distributed wirelessly via a promotional Game Card (known as the "Relay Version") used by Toys "R" Us stores in the United States from July 23 to July 30, 2006.
The Game Card distributes a single item and a single monkey villager to the player's game if it is set to Tag Mode; a Note in a Bottle from Katrina appears on the beach with the item, and the villager instantly moves in. If there are eight villagers in the player's town, the villager is added to a queue and will move in when another one moves out.
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
In addition to the Relay Version Game Card, several items were distributed over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection between 2005 and 2007, though unlike the Game Card, the items are mostly standard ones that can be obtained elsewhere. The items arrived in a letter that would be appear in the player's mailbox if they enabled downloads via the attic settings and played during the distribution period. Bulletin board messages were also sent via Nintendo WFC.
A letter and bulletin board message were reportedly sent via Nintendo WFC in late November 2005, prior to the game's North American release, and received by winners of an IGN contest who received the game early. The letter contained a Crown and read:
- "Dear <player>,
Thanks for your testing
Letter downloading test
From Animal Crossing Stuff"
The bulletin board message read:
- "Written by Stuff
Thanks for your testing
Bulletin board message
Given the timing and content of these messages, it is likely that they were for testing purposes and were not meant to be seen by players.
Additionally, for a few hours on January 26, 2006, a blank letter was sent via Nintendo WFC that contained a corrupted item called Red Tulips. If placed in the player's house, the item appears invisible and cannot be picked up or moved. Shortly afterward, Nintendo released a statement saying the letter was accidentally sent as a result of an internal error with the communication tool used to send out the letters, and they urged players who received the item to dispose of it in the recycle bin.
In City Folk
- Item list: Distributed items/City Folk
Distributed items were scheduled to be released during a 7-day period, where the item is received within the allotted time. Pete, the mail carrier, gives the player an item attached as a present on a letter. He would mention that the letters are from Nintendo, but some may be signed by special characters or characters from other Nintendo sometimes. Additionally, Wendell would occasionally give the player one of his designs to commemorate a special occasion.
Distribution of City Folk items ended on June 28, 2013 along with the dicontinuation of WiiConnect24.
In New Leaf
- Item list: Distributed items/New Leaf
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, items could be received from Nintendo Zone locations or over Wi-Fi. The items are obtainable in-game in the Post Office, or very rarely, in the mail. At the Post Office, the player can talk to Pelly or Phyllis to ask if a gift is available, and they will then be asked whether to check via Wi-Fi or Nintendo Zones. Some DLC items can be re-ordered from the catalog, while other items cannot.
DLC over Wi-Fi was discontinued after June 20, 2015, and Nintendo Zone downloadable content was discontinued as well after the discontinuation of the Nintendo Zone service.
In Happy Home Designer
- Item list: Distributed items/Happy Home Designer
In New Horizons
- Item list: Distributed items/New Horizons
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, items are primarily distributed through letters or the Nintendo eShop. Items that are downloaded through the Nintendo eShop have to be purchased through the Nook Stop for either Nook Miles or Bells.
- David Hinkle (July 18, 2006). "Animal Crossing gift available for download". Engadget. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
- Sir_Clud (April 8, 2018). "Animal Crossing Wild World: Relay Version Summary". Reddit. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
- Liquefy (January 4, 2008). "Animal Crossing: Wild World – WFC Letters FAQ". GameFAQs. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
- (January 30, 2006) "Wild World "tulip glitch" Nintendo's fault". nsider. Retrieved November 12, 2020.