The Madden football series makes its second appearance on the Game Boy with Madden 96. The game is closely based on its immediate predecessor. Like the earlier game, this one is not licensed from the NFL, and features generic team names, but with teams, stats and schedules based on the 1995 NFL season. Both the new expansion teams Carolina and Jacksonville as well as rule changes like the two-point conversion are incorporated.
Game modes have been cut down from the predecessor: the only remaining ones are exhibition, season and playoffs. In addition to the 30 regular teams, there is an All-Madden team for use in exhibition games only. Most features from the predecessor make a return: selectable game length (20, 40 or 60 minutes), freely definable audibles, timeouts, and detailed stats. The playbook has been reworked, substitutions are now available for all positions and the game features quarterback speech for the first time.
Game perspective (top-down, vertically scrolling) and controls are mostly unchanged from the predecessor. When played on a Super Game Boy, the game now allows for two players to match up, for which a special bluffing mode is available.