There is a lot of conversation around using simulators for training and how to "log" that time. Here is a few things to keep in mind and please remember this is not an exhaustive treatment. First, the FAA has very specific definitions for a simulator, ATD, and crediting that time for currency or toward a license or rating. The airlines and many training vendors have simulators that are certified for and allow you to receive training and take your checkride in them. Your first flight will be with a specially designated captain and paying customers onboard. After completing a specified number of flights called Operating Experience (OE) you are signed off to fly with regular line pilots. Most of the devices to which we GA types have access are ATDs which the FAA designates as either a Basic ATD (BATD) or Advanced ATD (AATD). Although you can do all kinds of fun stuff with them each devices must comply with a specific Letter of Authorization (LOA) that describes the device and what maneuvers can be taught or practiced with it. As an example look at the Redbird FMX1000 which is one of my favorites. Can you practice take offs and landings? Yes! Can you count them for currency? NOPE! What about VFR maneuvers and instrument stuff? You can do a lot of things but there are limits on how much time can be counted for proficiency or toward a license or rating. And none of the time can be logged as aircraft time. Standby for more separating fly feces from pepper. Go forth and aviate!