Follow TV Tropes


The Bridge

Go To
Set a course, ensign.

Cmdr. Buck Murdock: We'd better get to the tower, Lieutenant.
Lt. Pervis: We have no tower, sir.
Cmdr. Buck Murdock: No tower?
Lt. Pervis: Just a bridge, sir.
Cmdr. Buck Murdock: Why the hell aren't I notified about these things?

As The Couch is to sitcoms, so is The Bridge to Wagon Train to the Stars type shows: a gathering place for main characters. The Captain can usually be found here, and this is the native environment of Bridge Bunnies; together they spend their time making the Cool Starship go, noting that the Readings Are Off the Scale, evading Negative Space Wedgies, manipulating the Applied Phlebotinum, and so forth.

The standard bridge cliché involves The Captain sitting in the very center on a Command Chair, with two crewmembers (sometimes Bridge Bunnies) in front of him steering the ship, looking at an Applied Phlebotinum viewscreen showing a whizzing star field or a map of nearby space. Other characters sit at workstations arranged in a circle around the perimeter. There's an elevator or other extremely convenient access, and any character who wants to come to The Bridge can do so easily. The Bridge will be spacious and have a large stage, usually in front of The Captain's chair, so the officers, their invited guests, and the random uninvited enemy of the week can walk around and meaningfully emote.

Essentially The Bridge is part of the Space Is an Ocean model of space flight, in which the traditions of naval architecture are Recycled IN SPACE!. It will typically either be perched on the obvious "top" of the ship, often in some sort of conning-tower, or in the nose like the flight deck of an aircraft.

The Bridge will typically cram navigation, weapons control and even strategic-level command functions into a single room, all controlled by the same handful of people, despite the fact that putting them next to a giant window seems to be a disaster waiting to happen.

There are No Seat Belts on the bridge, so that the dramatic effect of Star Trek Shake will be maximised.

See also The War Room. Not to be confused with Take It to the Bridge, or with Dropped a Bridge on Him.

Of course, the reason this trope is so prevalent is because it works so well for storytelling purposes. The producers of Star Trek: Voyager tried playing around with the setup, but they realized that it's pretty much the optimal design for the kinds of stories that Star Trek tells.

This has nothing to do with the game of Bridge, the cop show known in English as The Bridge, the Sirius XM Satellite Radio channel known as The Bridge, the Puzzle Platformer game The Bridge, the German movie The Bridge (Die Brücke) (or novel of the same name), or the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/Godzilla Crossover Fanfic of the same name.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Macross bridge on Super Dimension Fortress Macross and its counterparts in Macross 7 and Macross Frontier.
  • In the Mazinger shows:
  • All bridges on all the large ships in the Mobile Suit Gundam series.
  • Like Firefly, the main characters' vessel in Cowboy Bebop contains a relatively small cockpit, and a larger living-room structure that better serves the functions of The Bridge.
  • Humorously referred to in the anime series Den-noh Coil: in episode four, the kids of the Daikoku City Hackers Club engage in a cyber-battle while seated on a bunch of overturned desks that recall the classical Bridge disposition (with the club president at the center and elevated above the others, of course) and surround themselves with virtual-reality screens and terminals on which they bash with Rapid-Fire Typing: but hey, they are kids playing after all....
  • Starship Operators has 3 bridges for Amaterasu, one for command, one for fire control, and one for conning. All the bridges are quite cramped, though, and there are seat belts.
  • The Arthra from Lyrical Nanoha, and heck, pretty much every ship of the Time-Space Administration Bureau has the standard roomy bridge. The Saint's Cradle however, is controlled from a cramp platform hidden in the heart of the ship.
  • Let it not be said that Haruhi Suzumiya doesn't know its tropes, as the ships of all five SOS Brigade members in the episode "The Day of Sagittarius III" come equipped with the standard bridge set-ups, complete with themed Bridge Bunnies.
  • Obviously Uchuu Senkan Yamato has a bridge, explained by being literally a battleship Recycled IN SPACE!. Then again, other starships depicted are like this too, including ones not from earth.
    • They actually have three bridges, but the main one gets almost all of the camera time. The third bridge, as The Other Wiki puts it, "seems to exist largely to be blown off the ship dramatically".
    • Like the original Star Trek, this series predates the establishment of female Bridge Bunnies as a trope. They have one girl on the bridge, but the Bunny-like locations are occupied by young male Odd Couple Kodai and Shima.
  • Mamoru Nagano and Kunihiko Ikuhara's light novel Schell Bullet gives us the Rogne Balt's bridge. Not absurdly spacious per se, but generally as stylish and ostentatious as it gets (and as just about everything on the ship) — exactly in the line with aestetical views of both authors.
  • Crest of the Stars partially goes for the standard aversion, making the bridges of its ships cramped and flight-deck-like... but only for the lighter units. Capital ships feature standard elevated platforms for the captain (with enough room to swing the ceremonial sword), loads of Bridge Bunnies, etc. Although both the capital ships and the lighter elements have their bridges in the heart of the ship and not exposed — this comes as a major plot point in one series when Lamhirh friend and mentor dies in the doomed destroyer's bridge, when battle damage blocks the way to the shuttle.
  • Outlaw Star has a small bridge for the eponymous ship, though most functions can be handled by the pilot.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: it isn't in a space ship, but the local bridge fits every caracteristics, complete with Bridge Bunnies and conveniant elevators.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor uses the bridge of the Soyokaze quite heavily. The Raalgon ships, although based on Organic Technology, also have familiar bridge layouts.
  • The bridge of Nadesico in Martian Successor Nadesico is quite spacious and populated by very odd people.
  • Super Atragon: The only part of the battleship Ra's interior that is actually shown.
  • Captain Harlock: The Arcadia's bridge seems to be equipped with blowers that generate Dramatic Wind.
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes, the warships of the Empire and the Alliance have different bridge formats. Imperial warships feature the commander sitting in a central command chair with his bridge crew surrounding him, whereas Alliance warships have bridges that resemble Real Life naval warships with multi-tiered decks and the commander (usually standing) occupying the top deck. Yang Wen-li's flagship Hyperion is worthy of mention: retrofitted from a frontier security squadron battleship, it differs from conventional Alliance flagships by a reduction of tiers in the bridge and an expanded top deck to accommodate a meeting table.
  • Hagan's bridge in Agent Aika featured a captain's chair that was recessed into the floor, rather than raised. This might have been related to the fact that he crewed his ship with highly attractive females wearing a uniform that he designed, which just happened to have skirts that would have made Star Trek: The Original Series female uniforms look modest.

    Fan Works 
  • Evangelion 303: It is not a spaceship, but the Distler Air Force Base has a bridge that fits all characteristics: elevated seats for the commander, Bridge Bunnies sitting at workstations in front of him, and a large, ample stage between the commander and the workers at the workstations.
  • HERZ: HERZís HQ has one with all typical characteristics. It was rebuilt after the destruction of the old NERV's underground base.
  • Last Child of Krypton: The Geofront has a bridge. It is described as this in chapter 4: The vast expanse of the "bridge" yawned before her. The command center was constructed not unlike the conning tower of a submarine above the sea of machinery and support networks that composed the MAGI system, centered on the three spherical computer nodes beneath her. The three technicians in front of her set to work, and a variety of views appeared above her on an enormous holographic screen overlaid with topographic maps, technical readouts, and other data.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, it's made clear what can happen due to the typical Star Wars bridge design—an enemy attack breaks through the command ship's shields, shreds the bridge, and kills the ship's admiral. It's then Lampshaded that the Trans-Galactic Republic is fully aware of such dangers and has a "Force Coordination Center" in the heart of the ship—but nobody ever managed to defeat the shielding on that class of Star Dreadnaught before, so the Rule of Cool reigned supreme.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Most vehicles in Star Wars that are large enough to have one (smaller ships just have airplane-style cockpits usually). Imperial ships don't follow the usual layout, though — Bridge Bunnies are confined to two sunken pits full of consoles, bisected by a long walkway for Darth Vader to pace up and down menacingly. It's basically galley slaves IN SPACE! The Walkway serves the same purpose as the raised command chair in TOS that allows Kirk to turn around and see what everyone else is doing, only instead of requiring a full rotation, you just turn your head from side to side. It also has room in the back for a Holographic 3D display, rather than a 2D viewscreen at the front, instead it has a window for similar reasons as the Star Trek (2009) Bridge does.
    • In contrast to Imperial designs placing the bridge on the top and aft of the ship, Return of the Jedi and Rogue One show that the Mon Calamari prefer to put their bridges forward and on the bottom of the ship, with the captain often in an elevated chair on an articulated arm that lets them move freely around the bridge while strapped down. The effect is similar to commanding a space battle from an armored fish bowl, in line with the Calamari's aquatic design. Rogue One also briefly shows that the smaller Corellian Corvettes are commanded from a smaller bridge at the front of the ship.
    • As seen in The Last Jedi, at least some ships feature multiple bridges, in case one is damaged in battle. For the starcruiser Raddus, the main bridge is on the top/front of the ship, and the alternate bridge is later shown to be on the bottom/front of the ship.
  • The Star Trek (2009) goes further than the series it's based on and has a window instead of a view screen, and the interior looks like an Apple store.
  • In The Hunt for Red October, there are multiple Bridges, and are used to great effect, except being submarines they're called the 'control room' or just 'conn'.
  • Space Mutiny has two bridges, one for the good guys, one for the bad guys, both on the same ship.
  • Averted in Alien: the Nostromo has a fairly cramped control room for piloting the ship (and, in a deleted scene, listening to a beacon), and at least one area with windows/monitors that allows Ash to monitor the away team, but most of the gathering and decision making is made around a general living area table.
  • The Helicarrier in The Avengers has a particularly large one. It's got a gigantic window at the front, and the ship's briefing room is basically part of it as well. Bonus points because the space has room for tons of Bridge Bunnies (and more points because they come in all genders!) There's even one guy goofing off playing Galaga instead of working when he thinks nobody is looking.
  • The command center aboard the ZARYa in the Soviet sci-fi classic Moscow ó Cassiopeia is located at the front of the craft and features a control panel (full of lots of unlabeled buttons) with several TV-sized screens and two windows on the sides. There are three identical chairs in front of the control panel, with The Captain sitting in the middle. The rear wall of the bridge is padded.

  • The Pool ship's bridge and the Blade ship's bridge in K.A. Applegate's Animorphs are the locations of some very important events.
  • Bridges in David Weber's Honor Harrington series are usually quite spacious, but you'd hardly notice it, them being cluttered by the crew's workstations (up to several dozens on a large capital ship), their associated shock frames (happily averting No Seatbelts), buried deep into the most protected part of the ship, and having not exactly the classical layout. Basically they are modeled not on a ship's steering bridge, but on a War Room or a submarine's Command Center. Larger ships have two, the second headed by the executive officer in battle situations in case the main bridge is damaged or destroyed. Ships intended for flagship purposes also include a flag bridge for the admiral and their staff.
  • The Task Force Resolution ships in Lacuna have an Operations room that functions as their bridge.
  • Sergey Pavlov's Hard Sci-Fi novel Moon Rainbow just loves to subvert various tropes, starting with both the titular Cool Ship and its counterpart later in the novel being not a naval vessels, but an exploration boat and freighter respectively, so it's not surprising that it does it for this trope as well. Just as in Honorverse example above, bridges there are more of a control rooms, large, but cluttered, with seatbelted crew being generally just representatives of their departments collected there for the Captain's convenience, and rarely, if ever, being Bridge Bunnies — they're just too busy for it. There are also a number of other control rooms throughout the sip, each controlling is own department, and a couple of sub-bridges for steering, astrogation and managing ships various systems.
  • In Line of Delirium, Kay is pretending to be a small-time merchant. He idly wonders why his cargo ship's tiny bridge has a forward window. Watching stars pass by is boring, and trying to land the ship using just the window is sheer suicide.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ur-Example: The bridge of the Enterprise on Star Trek: The Original Series set the pattern for The Bridge on many other Speculative Fiction Series. (Note though, that at in least one Star Trek movie there are in fact seat belts on the bridge, in the form of arm rests that fold down and lock a person in his seat. Also, Kirk had male Bridge Bunnies.)
    • On the seat belts note, it's almost as if the entire concept of seat belts is being played with. Think about it, played with in dramatic flair in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as described above (Literally. The wormhole scene) since the choreography on the show was comical, discarded as a stupid idea by being shown on the losing ship(s) after being sabotaged (and blown up) in 3, and never appeared again. Then came the reboot. And guess what they brought back?!
    • In a case of Truth in Television, the US Navy began to design their bridges after that of the Enterprise due to its more efficient layout.
      • This is also a case of influence going both ways, since the design of the original Enterprise's bridge was done by Matt Jeffries based on military aviation designs, some input from Naval sources... and the appearance of an electric stove's heating coil.
      • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Bridge of the Defiant started to sound like a Navy bridge, with orders being repeated and relayed (the computers were busted).
    • Budget and time constraints, along with the need to make different ship interiors visually distinct from one another in TNG and later series, however, lead to a number of other Federation starships with bridges that were decidedly less efficient and practical. The starship Jenolan from the episode Relics was of particular note, as it featured several stations—including the command chair—isolated from the others by bulkheads, without any line-of-sight to the other bridge stations.
    • In almost every instance, the bridge of ships that weren't the Enterprise (even other ships with the Galaxy class saucer, which logically should have the same bridge design) used various redresses of the battle bridge set (which was itself a redress of the movie-era bridge set), creating an emergent standard of Federation starship bridges. The design became so prevalent that the bridge of the USS Franklin, built two centuries earlier, used almost the very same layout. One of the very few exceptions was the USS Sutherland. Since both the main and battle bridge sets were in use for that episode, the Sutherland's bridge was constructed in the enlisted galley set from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
    • In a few episodes of the original series, and in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the ships featured, in addition to the bridge located on top of the ship, a secondary "Battle Bridge" located deep inside some heavily armored portion of the ship. It also doubled as the bridge for the main section of the ship whenever the plot demanded they jettison the saucer section.
    • The USS Shenzhou from Star Trek: Discovery mixes thing up a bit by putting the bridge on the bottom of the saucer instead of the top.
    • This only applies to The Federation ships. Klingon captains always sit at the front of the bridge, leading the warriors into battle.
      • Except on the Birds of Prey in the movies, which had very Federation-like bridge layouts except for the periscope the captain uses to aim and operate the weapons. The bridges of Klingon ships in Deep Space Nine had the same layout minus the consoles in between the captain and the viewscreen.
    • The first Romulan ship we ever see actually had most of the systems operated by standing crewmen arranged around a central pillar with the captain wandering around the perimeter giving orders. Later Romulan ships had bridges that looked more like later Klingon ships, possibly a result of the Klingon-Romulan treaty.
  • The Orville, having been inspired by Star Trek, has a bridge that looks a lot like a Starfleet bridge — though one major difference is that it's not in a dome on top of a Flying Saucer but the front of a larger top deck.
  • Andromeda is another example of this pattern.
    • The bridge was later re-designed by Harper a little. The pilot now has to stand, for some reason.
  • The Excalibur on Crusade intentionally departed from this pattern, with a long rectangular bridge more akin to the control rooms on modern-day attack submarines. The Captain's conference room opened up directly behind, making for one long room for the command staff to work in.
  • Babylon 5 has a variety of bridge designs for the different races.
    • Narn ships are cramped with everyone strapped in because they lack artificial gravity. The White Star's bridge is fairly spacious with the expected central command chair and separate work stations. Earth ships have the central command chair and a more cramped layout (and seatbelts). The eponymous station's Command and Control isn't really a bridge at all, but combines air traffic control, tactical control, and other functions.
    • The Excalibur class destroyers featured in A Call To Arms and Crusade feature the central command chair surrounded by workstations a la Star Trek, with the addition of the commander's conference room opening up directly behind it as an extension of the room.
    • The Liandra from Legend of the Rangers is an interesting case, being an old (and failed) Minbari design. It features a small (but mostly standard sci-fi) bridge, except for the weapons. The weapons room is a zero-g spherical chamber that shows the holo-image of the surrounding space, allowing the gunner to target and fire the ship's weapons with gestures. Basically, the weapons fire as fast as the gunner can punch air (anyone who has ever played a boxing game using Kinect will know how tiresome that gets). No wonder the design failed. Minbari aren't very good when they try new things on their own.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica had a standard TV bridge; the Combat Information Center on the new Galactica is more like The War Room in nature, being located deep within the armoured superstructure of the ship. Reimagined Series creator Ronald D. Moore, a veteran writer of three Star Trek series designed the CIC specifically to avoid a number of Trek bridge tropes and cliches that he had grown tired of.
  • Averted in Firefly and the film Serenity, where the spacecraft is flown from a flight-deck clearly modeled on transport aircraft rather than ships. It is much smaller, with just two workstations, actual windows in place of a viewscreen, and nowhere for the captain to sit—Mal will use the second workstation seat when he does sit. The dining room or cargo hold is a much more common gathering place than the flight deck.
  • The bridge of the Lexx has nothing but a viewscreen, a pedestal for the Captain, and a thousand-foot drop to one side.
  • The bridge of SeaQuest DSV was not very sub-like, but it was supposed to be a radical design. Because of the ship's long configuration, a maglev train was the convenient access.
  • The titular ship on Red Dwarf doesn't seem to have an actual bridge; the Navigation Room is seen a few times, but most of the action happens in and around the main characters' quarters. During the two seasons without the Red Dwarf, the bridge of Starbug is a small room only seen during emergencies, and the "character" action happens in the dining room.
    • The viewer does see Red Dwarf's bridge, briefly, in the very first episode, when Lister is called before the Captain and chewed out for bringing a cat on board. Another episode hints later on that the area is still radioactive from the accident which set the show's plot in motion.
    • Series 10 has several scenes set in a control room which has about the same dimensions and layout of a Starbug bridge.
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea had a submarine-style control room that was just large enough to fit all the major characters along with extras to run sonar, control, and communication. For dramatic visual purposes, the Seaview also had big viewing windows, right up in the bow, where they could be shattered by any trivial collision. They would even direct the ship from there. Eventually the producers realized that the captain of a submarine had no business trying to navigate his vessel by looking out the window into a murky ocean, though the windows remained and the bridge was never shifted to the depths of the vessel where it should have been. In fact, the bridge was moved to the front of the ship, just behind the windows in the second season.
    • The windows did have moving shutters that closed over them, they just weren't used very often.
  • Despite fact that the TARDIS on Doctor Who is huge, literally as big as the plot requires, and contains libraries, a swimming pool, crew quarters, a sickbay, storage rooms, cloisters, endless corridors to run up and down, and much more, you pretty much only ever see the console room. The new series had glimpse of the wardrobe and a few corridors before, after several years, "Journey to the Center of the TARDIS" gives us the full tour.
  • The Stargate-verse play this trope straight across multiple species.
    • Tau'ri bridges have the captain sitting in the middle with another crewman sitting on either side of him, facing a large viewport; all other crewmembers are standing behind these three.
    • Ancient ships have spherical bridges with the captain sitting in a raised chair and the others working along the walls. Even larger window. The Destiny in Stargate Universe has a similar design.
    • Traveler ships have a bridge that's more like a large two-seater cockpit.
    • Asgard ships have a very different bridge design, consisting of a central "pillar of light" and multiple platforms, although it only appears once: most of the time the bridge appears to be whatever room Thor has parked his teleporting throne in at that particular moment.
    • Hive ships have a bridge, but it's not as important, since the ships controls are very distributed.
    • Ori ships have a similar bridge as Ancient ships, to be controlled by a prior.
    • Goa'uld motherships have a standard design with the throne of the captain (typically, a Goa'uld lord) in the middle and consoles in the front. Smaller ships lack the bridge.
  • Moya in Farscape has several standing consoles in front of a screen. Then again, most of the functions are controlled by the Pilot deep within the bowels of the ship. Peacekeeper command carriers have an elongated design with consoles positioned at angles towards the front. The consoles have large, sweeping supports for the crew to trip over. Being a gunship (and young), Talyn has a small, cramped command center deep within the ship with consoles lining the walls. However, all control functions can be performed by the captain, who has a device implanted in the back of his head for giving out mental commands. Being a genetically-engineered hybrid of Leviathan and Peacekeeper technology, Talyn doesn't require a Pilot.
  • On Legends of Tomorrow, the main focus of the Waverider's bridge is a circular control/display panel that everyone can mill around, much like in a certain other time travel based series. There is a set of seats on the bridge, with the captain's seat in front at a set of controls, but these are only used if they're expecting a rough ride and need to strap in.
  • The Starlost opens with the three protagonists standing on the bridge of their Generation Ship where no man has gone before for 400 years. Unfortunately the bridge has been damaged, so the Myth Arc involves them plodding through the vast spacecraft looking for a backup bridge and someone with the expertise to man it, before they crash into the sun they're heading towards.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Traveller Starships:
    • There are several types of bridges depending on the ship. Some ships, notably naval flagships have more then one bridge(one for the ship and one for the fleet). Different crew members are assigned workstations with computers arranged to taste.
    • Hivers, quite sensibly, but contrary to sci-fi tradition put their bridges in the middle of the ship. They also fire the guns from the bridge, again quite sensibly but contrary to sci-fi tradition.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has of course bridges tending towards the monumental — while the Lord-Captain resides on the obligatory Command Throne, the rest of the bridge is generally big enough to qualify as The War Room. The Rogue Trader RPG has bridges as a starship component type. Depending on the specific component chosen, the bridge layout and its equipment can benefit anything from spaceship combat to commerce, exploration or planetary invasions.

    Video Games 
  • Averted in EVE Online - while NPC ships are presumed to have bridges, one of the advantages of player-controlled ships is that they don't have bridges - instead, the ship's command functions are wired directly into the pilot's nervous system. This allows the ship to react quicker, and cuts down on the need for life support.
    • Nevertheless, some ship models (especially Minmatar designs) have elongated or raised parts that look like bridges. The fan vid Clear Skies shows how dangerous that can be.
    • Fluff-wise, the capsuleer ships are simply retrofitted conventional vessels.
  • In the "Mothership Zeta" DLC for Fallout 3, the titular alien mothership has a large bridge with the captain's chair in the front and various consoles to the sides.
  • The Halo series has shown the bridges of several different ships, most of which fit the cliche.
    • The Pillar of Autumn from Halo: Combat Evolved in particular has a rather... precarious seat for the pilot and another officer, to put it mildly; in fact, the bridge of the Autumn is a complete contradiction - supposedly one of the most ridiculously over-engineered ships in the whole human fleet, yet it has just about the most exposed bridge it is possible to imagine?
    • Meanwhile, the bridge on the Covenant ship Truth and Reconciliation (also from CE) is particularly enormous and laid out in a circular design. However, like all Covenant ships, it's also located in the center of the vessel and has no obvious 'viewscreens'. Being a video game, it's also not easy to get to.
    • Partially subverted with the bridge of the UNSC frigate In Amber Clad from Halo 2: while it does have a central Commader's chair, two forward bridge-bunny stations and several other stations around the perimeter, it's also badly cramped.
    • In the novels, the Covenant occasionally Lampshade a particularly common cliche of this trope, calling the human's bridge location in the fore of the ship "bold but foolish." That said, although human bridges are towards the front or the top of the ship they are not always exposed. Whilst it is never out-and-out stated it's made very clear in the novels most ships have internal bridges a decent distance from the hull.
    • Not to be outdone by anyone, the UNSC Valiant-class supercruisers had huge bridges with two dozen bridge stations for fleet coordination.
  • Equipping different bridge modules in Infinite Space can improve your ship's performance, as well as the background for traveling or fighting. Many cutscenes are set on the bridge of some ship or other.
  • In both Knights of the Old Republic video games this trope is also averted — the Ebon Hawk has a small cockpit and some sort of a briefing room for important discussions, since it isn't exactly a warship. It is played straight with the Sith warships and their massive rooms with sunken areas for control operators and a long walkway for Malak to pace up and down menacingly, and the Republic Hammerhead-class vessels and their console-lined rooms at the prow with big windows.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Averted by the Normandy, which splits the various roles of this trope into three separate rooms, a layout influenced by submarines (which makes sense given it's a small, special-purpose steatlh vessel). When Shepard has to justify the craft to an uptight Rear Admiral, they explain that it was an experiment with Turian ship layouts, who co-developed the Normandy, and any distance concerns are easily solved with ubiquitous Comm Links and good ol' Drill Sergeant Nasty bellowing. For bonus points, all three rooms are located on the same deck, so if internal communications ever went down, critical information can still be relayed as easy as walking from one room to another.
      • The Helm, or cockpit, is a small compartment in the nose for the pilots to actually fly the ship. Shepard will often stand here alongside Joker the pilot to get a view of the destination they're about to be dropped off in. In the SR-2, EDI helps assist Joker's piloting of the ship and can often be found here, despite her AI Core being located on a different deck.
      • The Briefing Room in the back is for long-term planning and strategy, often for Shepard's long-term goal, inducting new crew members, or a place of privacy to talk with higher ups like the Council, the Illusive Man or Admiral Hackett. In the third game it's expanded into The War Room since Shepard is the spearhead of the Alliance's fight with the Reapers. Here they meet with military command to plan battles that the Normandy herself may not participate in, but Shepard and co. will. Once a plan is finalized, any relevant information is then relayed to the officers in the CIC, before being passed to the helm so Joker can plot a course. The old Briefing Room table is in a makeshift room for more diplomatic matters, since the ship was in mid-renovation when it had to be called back into service.
      • The CIC (command area) is between the Helm and Briefing Room, with the Captain standing over the Officer's stations rather than in among them, and is where navigational and combat decisions are made. Notably the CIC is never seen in action: as a stealth ship the Normandy frequently avoids straight-up firefights, and the two times it is in one we never see the CIC's operations, just Joker shouting "I'm going in!!". The one time the CIC could have been shown is the approach to Ilos, but the game opts to put everyone in the cockpit so they can be in the same room as Joker.
    • The bridge of the Destiny Ascension is shown several times. It also appears to play this trope straight, although it's an asari flagship and a dreadnought to boot (since dreadnoughts are too large to land on planets, their rooms are located perpendicular to the thrusters).
      Joker: Y'know what pisses me off? Calling this the cockpit. Alliance ships have bridges. Asari ships have cockpits. Oh, wait. No they don't.
  • The Lexington's bridge in Mission Critical is reminiscent of Star Trek, which is fitting, given that the captain is played by Michael Dorn. The captain's chair is in the middle. The officer stations are along the sides of the large circular room. No front-facing consoles, though. There is also a large viewscreen at the front. However, unlike Trek ships, the bridge and every other deck on the Lexington is facing perpendicular to the acceleration in order to provide artificial gravity.
  • Space Quest has a couple of ships with this style. When Roger Wilco becomes a Star Confedration captain in Space Quest V, he is assigned to the SCS Eureka which plays the trope straight on a small scale, since the Eureka is, literally, a garbage scow. Roger's chair is in the center, as usual, with Officer Flo and Subcorporal Droole towards the front. Captain Quirk's ship, the SCS Goliath, plays it straighter, in addition to the SCS DeepShip 86 in the next game which is based on Deep Space Nine. However, since the DS86's captain is a member of a Cat Folk species, his chair is a large, plush couch with scratched-up sides.
  • Appears to be averted in Star Control, although, to be fair, the heavily-pixelized crew animations don't show enough to be certain. Human crews, for example, are shown to be sitting in a cramped control room with chairs back-to-back. Then again, given that their shape is based on Star Trek, they may have a "standard" sci-fi bridge. Other examples include the Androsynth, who operate their ships from a standing position, and the Ur-Quan, who hang from the ceiling in a massive chamber.
  • As expected based on the name, Star Trek: Bridge Commander takes place exclusively on the bridge of your ship. The only time you're shown not on the bridge is at the very beginning, when your Heroic Mime Player Character is walking there. While the game does have an "outside" view, which even allows you to take direct control of your ship in battle, it's generally best to limit yourself to giving orders to your tactical officer and have him do all the fighting and maneuvering. In fact, for a game that asks you to sit back and let your subordinates do their jobs, the game is surprisingly engaging. Bonus points for switching bridge designs on you partway through, after you're transferred from USS Dauntless (Galaxy-class) to USS Sovereign (Sovereign-class).
  • Star Trek Online lets you choose from dozens of bridge designs, some varying on the standard Trek theme and some completely different. The bridges are also huge compared to their versions on TV.
  • The player's party in Super Robot Wars games is often based on a battleship of some kind and cutscenes sometimes take place on the bridge.
  • The endgame of System Shock 2 involves getting to the bridges of the science ship Von Braun, and the smaller military warship Rickenbacker docked on top of it. The Von Braun's bridge makes up two whole floors, with various stations around the room, complete with a small briefing room and an office for captain Anatoly Korenchkin on the second floor. The Rickenbacker takes a more Star-Trek-like style, with the main command station at the back of a single room, with four stations toward the windows. Neither of these bridges are manned, with their officers being occupied with The Many.
  • Appears to be the case with human ships in Sword of the Stars, with The Bridge located in the Command (i.e. forward) section with a large window into space. Partially subverted with the (presumed) existence of a secondary bridge in the Mission section, meaning that destroying the Command section does not result in the ship becoming useless.
    • Battle bridge confirmed here. The same diagram also shows that both bridges are protected by blast shields.
  • At the end of Starship Titanic, once Titania is repaired, the player can access the bridge of the titular ship. Since the Starship Titanic is generally automated with no crew on board, it consists of little more than a small platform with a steering wheel, a laptop, and a navigation helmet, which the player uses to return to Earth.
  • Many cutscenes in Warship Gunner 2 consist of the characters talking on the bridge. While every ship you build in the series requires a bridge, this is the only title where you get to see what's going on in it.
  • The Wing Commander games occasionally feature scenes on the bridge, though given the focus of the series they're not common. In a subversion, the BWS Intrepid's bridge was destroyed in combat with Confederation forces before Blair joins them, so the ship is run from the Combat Information Center with a jury-rigged setup to replace the functionality lost with the damaged bridge.
  • Pre-mission briefings in The Wonderful 101 take place on the bridge of the Virgin Victory, the flying base of operations for the titular army of heroes. It's dominated by a gigantic hologram of Earth and features an impressive array of flashing control panels.
  • In XCOM 2, the Avenger's bridge serves as the equivalent of Mission Control from the previous game. It isn't much to look at, actually - the only windows are small and high on the side walls, and there's no main viewscreen showing where the ship is flying. The real draw is the holographic map the player uses to navigate the world and plan operations against the ADVENT regime.
  • Xenogears and Xenosaga gives the player access to the bridges of several ships.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: in "Tennyo's Easter" the first we see of the empire known as the Royan Marches is a scene on The Bridge of a prototype battleship.

    Western Animation 
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury has a ship with a stupendously large bridge.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television to varying degrees for many types of ships, although Real Life bridges might often seem rather cramped compared to their television counterparts, and the terminology varies based on the type of watercraft.
    • On old sailing ships, the officers often commanded the ship from the "Poop Deck"note . This deck was typically elevated and allowed the officers to see much of the ship and the men at work.
    • On paddle-wheel steamships, the large paddlewheels tended to obstruct one's view, so many ships featured a literal bridge (hence the name) built across the middle of the ship, high enough to let the officers see over the entire ship. Once paddlewheels were replaced by screws, the elevated observation post remained for its obvious utility. Many warships will also feature command and control centers deep within the ship to act as a backup in emergencies, compare to the "Battle Bridge" on Star Trek.
    • One variation used on older warships was for The Captain and his staff to command the ship from an elevated position with the best visibility of the ship and the battlefield, while the helmsman sat in an armored enclosure at deck-level with a handful of other junior officers. They had far less visibility to command and control the ship from, instead being relayed instructions from above, but were also far more likely to survive a shell striking the ship's superstructure, ensuring that someone would probably be in control of the ship despite the bridge crew suffering a Total Party Kill. Still not quite the same as the "Battle Bridge" mentioned above as the aforementioned observation deck was often on this compartment's roof.
    • On modern aircraft carriers, the bridge is housed in what is termed "the island", the tall but relatively narrow superstructure mounted off to one side. The Queen Elizabeth class have two, the forward one handles ship operations, the aft one is the flight command centre, on other carriers both are housed in one island.
  • Smaller ships and aircraft will often use a different layout designed for smaller crews and tighter spaces. For aircraft, The Captain is typically one of the pilots, officially termed the Pilot-in-Command in US aviation practice. In any given operation, different crew members will have different roles to carry out and must effectively communicate with each other to ensure the work is evenly shared, that everyone know what's going on, and most importantly that different crewmembers aren't working at cross purposes. Given how complicated modern aircraft are, and how time-critical some operations might be, expect a checklist for everything with crewmembers reading items out loud and verbally announcing tasks as they complete them. Effectively managing all of this is the core of a practice known as "Crew Resource Management."


Video Example(s):


The Enterprise Bridge

In the opening of the first "Star Trek" pilot, the Enterprise picks up a distress signal.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheBridge

Media sources: