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A bridge simulator was a simulator used at Starfleet Academy's Starfleet Academy Command School for training cadets in navigation and commanding a starship. The environment was based on actual bridge designs.
Other than programming, wrecker programs triggered physical mechanisms such as explosions, smoke, panels breaking open and cables blown out. These boosted the simulated experience, and as the cadets were required to "clean up" for the next team, they were trained in assembling every gadget in place of an actual ship. Real engineers occasionally redesigned the wrecker programs. (TOS novelization: Starfleet Academy)