Citing a vague need to “spice things up”, Stanford has released a version of Zoom exclusive to the university that allows students to gain additional features. To promote student involvement in this initiative, professors have also been given access to various tools designed to increase the “enthusiasm factor” of online classes.

Some students have expressed concerns about the classism inherent in a system that requires students to pay to not die, but in response administration has pointed out that not all features require monetary payment. “See, right after you join a class meeting, you’re greeted with a big advertisement that says ‘WATCH VIDEOS TO EARN Z-BUCKS™!’—no payment required. And these Z-Bucks™,” explained Provost Drell, “can be exchanged for goods and services. One such good is our new system of ‘extra lives’, which was introduced as a direct response to our giving professors special guns that can shoot students through the screen when they aren’t performing up to snuff. Extra lives make sure that that death isn’t final by forcefully resuscitating you from the grave.” Drell did not comment on if being pulled between the veil of the living and the dead by the power of microtransactions had any known side effects.

“At first I was skeptical,” says Donald Dooney ’21. “But after I saw Mandy get devoured alive for getting a question wrong by the flesh-eating termites that my professors started sending to eat us while calling it ‘motivated engagement,’ I realized that I had to start cashing in my Z-Bucks™ for these walls and defense towers.” Dooney added that he has survived every thinly-veiled attempt at murder so far, but regretted his purchase of a cannon tower after his parents’ house was turned to rubble.

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