The preceding year had seen the release of the Nintendo 64 to widespread acclaim, and naturally games for the new system figured significantly for this permutation of the awards. The penultimate example is Super Mario 64, but other N64 titles such as Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Wave Race 64, Killer Instinct Gold, and Pilotwings 64 made strong showings as well.
Despite the intense focus on the brand new system, games for the Super NES still had a large presence as well, led by the major titles Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Tetris Attack, Kirby Super Star, and Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals. Meanwhile, despite being seven years old by this point, Game Boy titles were still selling very well.
Winners and Runners-Up
The following is the list of winners and runners-up.
|Most Game Play Variety|
|Best Play Control|
|Best Sports Game|
|Best Tournament Fighting Game|
|Easiest to Learn, Toughest to Master Award|
|Coolest Move of 1996|
|Coolest Item of 1996|
|Best Mode of Transportation|
|The "That's Gotta Hurt" Award|
|The "More Annoying than the Macarena" Award|
|Funniest Game of 1996|
|Best Super NES Game|
|Best Game Boy Game|
|Best N64 Game|
Total number of nominations
The following lists the number of nominations for each game.
- Super Mario 64 - 21 (16) nominations*
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire - 17 (15) nominations*
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble - 16 (13) nominations*
- Super Mario RPG - 13 nominations
- Wave Racer 64 - 12 nominations
- Killer Instinct Gold - 11 (10) nominations*
- Pilotwings 64 - 8 (7) nominations*
- Wayne Gretzky's 3-D Hockey - 7 nominations
- Tetris Attack - 5 nominations
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run - 5 nominations
- Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals - 3 nominations
- Maui Mallard - 3 nominations
- Kirby's Super Star - 3 nominations
- Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits - 3 nominations
- Donkey Kong Land 2 - 2 nominations
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy - 2 nominations
- NBA Hangtime - 2 nominations
- Madden '97 - 2 nominations
- Mega Man X3 - 1 nomination
- Sword of Hope II - 1 nomination
- Sim City 2000 - 1 nomination
- Street FIghter 2 Alpha - 1 nomination
- Power Piggs of the Dark Age - 1 nomination
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 - 1 nomination
- Cruis'n USA - 1 nomination
- Tetris Blast - 1 nomination
- Kirby's Blockball - 1 nomination
- Urban Strike - 1 nomination
- Prehistorik Man - 1 nomination
- Mr. Do! - 1 nomination
- Some categories (specifically Best Code, Coolest Move of 1996, Coolest Item of 1996, Best Mode of Transportation, Best Hero/Heroine, Best Goodie, and Worst Baddie) had multiple nominations from a single game; the second, italicised number has been adjusted to reflect this.
Total number of awards
The following lists the number of awards for each game.
- Super Mario 64 - 10 awards
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire - 8 awards
- Super Mario RPG - 2 awards
- Killer Instinct Gold - 2 awards
- Wave Race 64 - 2 awards
- Pilotwings 64 - 1 award
- Donkey Kong Land 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - 1 award
Readers of the magazine were presented with the list of nominees in Nintendo Power volume 94. Votes could be cast by subscribers either by email or "snail" mail. The votes were then tallied and announced in the pages of Nintendo Power volume 96.
- Swanky Kong (a supporting character from the Donkey Kong Country series) served as the "host" for these awards and jokingly informed readers that Nintendo Power had made Kremlings (enemies from that same series) tally thousands of votes. He was notably disappointed that Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble! did not win as many awards as he had hoped.
- Some joke awards were listed on the bottom of each page within the awards section. Among these were:
- Worst Dressed of 1996: Maya (Killer Instinct Gold)
- Best Dressed of 1996: Swanky Kong (of course)
- Best Rumor: Naked Mario code (Super Mario 64)