Ideas for expanding the Gizmoplex community

If Joel and the gang are looking to extend the value of a Gizmoplex monthly pass (especially as depending on the production and touring cycle, there may be some months where new official content gets a little slim) there are a few fairly low cost things that I think they could potentially add for pass holders that wouldn’t take up too much time and effort, but would make the 'Plexers happy and help build community. Here are a few ideas:

Idea #1: Bring back ‘MST3K: The Home Game’ (in Zoom meeting format).

For those that don’t remember, for one (actually two) brief moments in 1997, MST3K and the SciFi channel invented live-stream group riffing about two decades ahead of time. In this primitive version, you had to log onto the website or IRC and submit a short tweet-length riff while a public domain movie played and moderators posted the best ones up on screen. (Though because this was the early days of the internet, it was plagued with technical problems, most noticeably that so many MSTies logged onto the event that the mods could only monitor one IRC room at a time and ignored the other 20, and even if you were lighting fast off the keyboard with a real zinger that the mods saw and liked, it still took about 20 seconds after you submitted it for it to appear up on screen.
Nowadays, we’ve got Zoom, and it’s incredibly easy to host a private URL Zoom meeting where the presenter mutes all other audio and then after a brief introduction, “presents” the movie as a media file from his/her hard drive, and everybody logged in to the meeting can quip away in the live chat. This is how Frank and Trace run their monthly The Mads live riff event, and there’s no reason the Gizmoplex can’t do something similar.
As with the original “Home Game” the movies themselves would probably need to be restricted to films that are clearly in the public domain, however, there are still a ton of them out there, and I bet Matt has had to sit through plenty of movies and shorts that weren’t quite up to par to be in season 13, but would still ripe for community-powered riffing.

In a perfect world, it would be nice if we could enhance the experience by having a rotating member of the MST3K crew improv riff on each experiment. But even if not, it’d still be fun to get a bunch of MSTies together (virtually) in the same room and riffing on a bad movie once or twice a month.


Idea #2: Issue a monthly Gizmonic Institute Invention Exchange Challenge.

I’m perfectly happy to do this myself here on the forums, but it’d be more fun if it came from Joel, Kinga, or Jonah with a short little video clip introducing that month’s premise. Basically, once a month, Gizmoplex members would be prompted to flex their mad scientist muscles by submitting their very own invention exchange based on that month’s creative theme. Fans would then have three or four weeks to submit photos, drawings, or short videos showing off their ideas, and at the end of that time, the cast would choose their favorite ones to be featured in the Gizmoplex Hall of Inventors.

Each challenges would be fairly open-ended but still built around a central theme or purpose. For example, here are just some starters I’ve come up with:

  • invent a new musical instrument
  • get people to exercise more
  • make real life more like the movies
  • help speed up housework
  • come up with a new alternative to texting
  • bring families back to the dinner table
  • get back to nature
  • help people to relax
  • create an alternative energy source
  • help people become an artist
  • going retro (aka. living in the past)!
  • make reading fun
  • help people to stand out from the crowd
  • make it easier to work from home
  • live like a ninja
  • gifts for Grandma
  • help encourage recycling
  • tell the future!
  • help people eat more healthy
  • make wars less violent
  • fashions… of the future!
  • puppets!
  • living on the go (make things portable)
  • corporate-sponsored holidays
  • stay clean and neat
  • gifts for baby!
  • help people get out of the house
  • get that job!
  • help people quit smoking
  • make real life more like cartoons
  • love and affection (show you care)
  • go big!
  • take back a bad decision
  • microliving/miniaturization
  • new versions of old toys
  • live like a celebrity
  • make sports more interesting
  • draw inspiration from animals

Obviously, for anything officially presented by the Gizmoplex, there would need to be some sort of little legal blurb about not doing anything stupid that’s going to get yourself or anyone else injured (or the Gizmoplex sued). Still, it’d be great to see what other people come up with, and as a maker myself, I’d love the opportunity to participate.


#3 Caption Contest/Write a Riff Competition
Since the movies are a bit more hush-hush, I see this mainly being something that would be done with the shorts. But basically, once a month or so, put up a still from one of the upcoming shorts and encourage people to write in a caption/riff, and one of them will get used during the filmed episode.

Note that this does work under the assumption that the shorts aren’t all being filmed back to back, which is entirely possible given that Emily will be off on the Time Bubble tour for a while. Still, at the very least, a caption contest is an easy enough thing to put up on the intranet and force some poor unpaid intern to sort through all the submissions to pick out the choice ones and then put these up as the “winners” somewhere on the Gizmoplex site.


#4 Submit photos, fan art, trivia questions, and other similar “slides” for use during episode premiere pre-shows.

Episode premieres are going to be a big part of the Gizmoplex. Why not milk that a little further by adding a 15-30 minute “pre-show” consisting of vintage trailers and commercials like The Mads have been doing before their live shows intercut with Rifftrax Live style slides featuring content provided by 'Plexers? While not quite as amazing as having your letter read during an episode itself, it would be a great opportunity for fans to submit their photos and other creative content and become 15 seconds famous… even if it’s only as a warm-up act for the live premiere itself.


I think that’s what they already said the primary feature of the plex was gonna be, I think. Riffing with your friends!


We do something like Idea #1 in our weekly watches. You do have to be very light on the keyboard to keep up with the episode.

Something I’ve noticed is that Google Meet’s live transcription is pretty good at making a text version of what people say in almost real time. Might be useful for something like that?

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I’m loving all these ideas. My biggest hope for the Gizmoplex is fan interactivity. Watching a movie at the same time as others is good, but if you don’t have a way to interact, is going to seem be veeeeery distant, at best.


I think any sort of automated chat to caption system would get overwhelmed by the sheer number of simultaneous comments almost immediately.
I don’t think you can avoid the human element when it comes to picking and choosing which text riffs to put up on screen, and even if there’s a way for a moderator to highlight which riffs to post as a text caption with a single click, there’s still going to be a few seconds delay, even for those of us who are fairly fast typers.

The only way I can think of to produce a properly time-synched Mystery Science Caption 3000 would be if we did a standard weekly watch where people fire off riffs in the accompanying chat room (possibly even running through each experiment twice like they did for the original Home Game), and then some dedicated soul goes back after it’s all over with a copy of the chat transcripts and manually copies and pastes the best riffs as text captions onto a version of the video that gets posted to the Gizmoplex streaming service as a video link a few days later for people who didn’t participate in the original live event.

While totally feasible given current available technology, it would involve asking at least one dedicated fan (with a copy of Adobe Premiere or some other video editing tool) to devote several hours of free time to the project.
I’d potentially be willing to volunteer for caption duty… once or twice, but don’t think I could keep up with it if it was something we did on a weekly basis.


I believe the 1st suggestion is very nearly the selling premise of the Gizmoplex app. Back when I used to livestream watch together on FB, people would Riff in real time and I would toss up screen captures of the wittiest comments. It’s definitely a doable feature and likely going to be incorporated into the app itself.

The rest of these ideas are fantastic however.

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The only way I can think of to produce a properly time-synched Mystery Science Caption 3000 would be if we did a standard weekly watch where people fire off riffs in the accompanying chat room (possibly even running through each experiment twice like they did for the original Home Game), and then some dedicated soul goes back after it’s all over with a copy of the chat transcripts and manually copies and pastes the best riffs as text captions onto a version of the video that gets posted to the Gizmoplex streaming service as a video link a few days later for people who didn’t participate in the original live event.

If you really want to highlight fan riffing, I think the best way is to have a list of PD shorts and movies available, and invite small groups to actually take on the project. It’s up to them whether they want to tackle it ad lib or try to script some or all of it out ahead of time. Either way, then they get to present it to an online audience in a much less hurried way. Fans can sign up as a group, or volunteer to be thrown in with other fans at random.

I think that way, fans who are up for it really get to experience the whole process, rather than trying to squeeze in one typed comment past the dozens or hundreds of others who are also trying to squeeze a comment in too.

And it doesn’t matter if a movie gets done more than once; Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has been MSTed, CT’d and Rifftraxed, after all.


While we’re talking about the Gizmoplex, I suppose I should reiterate my own hopes for it (which I mentioned in a long and embarrassingly effusive comment on the site)–

Me and friends do a weekly MST watch-along into which we add a variety of additional stuff. Self-hosted movies, other riffing we’ve bought over the years, and found Youtube videos, through a site called Cytube ( Cytube lets us bring almost anyone into our shows, and while it’s not perfect, has helped us maintain our show for about four years now. Before it, we used for a while, but it messed up more often.

Many of us are excited about the Gizmoplex, but at the same time we’re pretty sure we won’t be able to just pull up stakes and move our shows there, however awesome that would be, because it doesn’t seem like it’s being built around a bring-your-own-media, build-your-own-playlist concept, and because paid memberships will probably get in the way of that. Which, of course, is okay, we have specialized needs. Just, dreamin’, you know.

But also, there’s a lot of cool stuff out there that it feels like Joel could partner with and bring officially to the ‘Plex. Dana Gould’s hilarious Hanging With Doctor Z seems like a nice, and possible, “get” for the Gizmoplex. And Joel’s maintained good relationships with other riffers, including both MST alumni and non. It could become a big ol’ indie media kind of streaming thing. A lot of this is a pipe dream, but those are the best kinds of dreams, the pipe ones.

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Have all the Classic Episodes remastered into at least 4:3 720p for Steaming. TV’s have really changed over the years, and some of the Classic Episodes on a 65inch 4k OLED look kind of rough. I would pay extra for HD Streaming of the Classic Episodes.

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I see you’re the OP of this thread. So you already know the existing issues with not having a lot of the masters and losing rights to several titles. Another obstacle lies with some episodes only existing today from best-known transfers off VHS; no amount of transcoding is going to increase their clarity or sharpness, and an upscale is only going to make the roughness you’ve mentioned pop out even more.

Progress can be as cruel a mistress as fate.


Just like a lot of the Classic Doctor Who episodes. Lost to time I guess.:rofl::rofl:

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I don’t know. The DVD/BluRay releases for the classic series look really good. Not sure what all is involved on the technical side, but those episodes were on tapes so I’m sure someone could do something. the question is would it be worth it. Would they be able to sell enough copies to support the cost of the work is the question.

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