Jetpack Joyride is a perfect recession-culture product.

It's free-to-play, and you're flying around on a stolen jetpack, collecting coins to spend on vanity items.

What could be more now?

When people look back on Jetpack Joyride, they'll also find a game littered with contemporary cultural references, revealing a connected world where images and ideas proliferate quickly and widely.

Here's three jetpacks that can be bought in the game that are cultural mirrors of our time.

They should probably be in a museum.

Rainbow power

Before high-speed internet, rainbows were something that appeared in the sky occasionally after a shower of rain.

But now, thanks to Nyan Cat and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, rainbows have become 20 percent cooler and 100 percent more propulsion-related.

Suddenly, anyone who spends a large chunk of their time on the internet finds flying through the air with rainbows shooting out of their bum a comprehensible idea; an idea worth paying virtual coins to achieve.

Steam machines

Games have been sneaking little steampunk references into their art for decades already, and this inclusion as one of the earliest items in the game shows just how deeply references to mechanical technologies have penetrated digital culture.

It could be a nostalgic look back to simpler times when machines didn't need OS upgrades or DRM decryption software.

Or it could be that steam engines resonate with us as engines of mobility that changed the pace of life 150 years ago, just as the mobile computing changes our own lifestyles today.

Fruity flight

Half-brick's fruit-related addition to Jetpack Joyride reminds players of all the good times they had - or could be having - with its other hit title Fruit Ninja.

Inter-referentiality between games made by the same company is almost as old as the industry itself, but it became a major feature in the 1990s, when backwards compatibility of consoles and franchise iteration made video game heritage a relevant concern.

Be it through moogles and chocobos or Kojima's propensity for getting his characters naked, building a game heritage out of cross-game references plays into ideas of mastery and expertise in fandom. If you recognise the reference, that makes you almost like a connoisseur, which overlaps the theme of mastery in game play more generally.

Putting praise of jetpacks as cultural artefacts aside, it is a shame that among Jetpack Joyride's IAP, the seasonal items have not been upgraded.

The store looks a little stale at the moment and besides which, I seriously want to fly around with a jetpack that shoots cherry blossoms, and maybe also an easter bunny costume.

But perhaps that's just me.

Want more? Check out our 38 other Jetpack Joyride (previously Machine Gun Jetpack) articles!