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It's not a competition, just be ready to learn, maybe review a couple of books. Save your energy for learning their codebase.
Swap your video game hours with useful ones?
If you have free time (I realize you do), combine gaming and programming!!
Make a very low level game in a terminal with c++ or a high level one with Unity. Imagine a Candy crush game made in half a day with Unity. Personally it took 2 days for a small 2D game but the result was sooo rewarding! The feel of a game made by you is the real thing!! I wish I had more time for game development...sorry, I lost my flow.
As I was saying, I totally recommend Unity but if you want pure programming then do a simple User Interface but complicated in code game. That reminds me of an assignment that I had once. "Try to simulate the cos(x) in a terminal with ASCII characters and C". Can you do that? Python is good for small scripts and mind bending (just saying...)
Freedom to gamers!! I just felt I should say that.