I am not working in the gaming industry yet, but aspire to. So, while I can't offer you any advice on that end, I can offer you some encouragement from someone a little bit older and wiser than you.
You are very young, and have your whole life ahead of you! While it might seem that you lost sight of your goal for a long period of time and now you are behind, in the scheme of things, you have plenty of time to make your dream come true.
From everything that I've read on this forum and in other articles, it seems like education isn't always what these employers are looking for. Rather, they are looking for talent. Talent that you've expressed that you have. You already have an experience in making an online gaming environment. I'm sure you can find a way to draw on that experience, and to put forth some effort to educate yourself.
There are a ton of books on programming games out there. If you really want to learn, and can't afford to go back to school, then how about buying a book and teaching yourself? Also, there are options to places like DigiPen and Full Sail. I can't afford to go to those schools either. But, you really should check out gameinstitute.com. They offer reasonably priced classes (~$130 for beginning courses) in game programming, and this is something I am considering. I've asked for feedback on these forums about this school and haven't gotten any (at least no one has said anything negative about it yet!), but hey, if that's your only choice, then go for it anyway. It's better than nothing.
One of the downfalls of youth is that often one wants instant gratification. The real world just doesn't work that way. You've figured out what you want. Now, make it happen. Just know that it might take some time and investment, and don't be too anxious for it to happen right away. Work in your field while you're working toward your goal. Just because you made a decision once doesn't mean that you don't have time to change your mind.
I'm 40, have a job in a completely different field (not even in programming), and have the same aspiration you do. Although I have some of the same worries you do, I refuse to let them stand in my way. I've asked questions here, so that I know what challenges might lie before me, but that is so I can be prepared to face them. In other words, don't be discouraged by your choices. Take the "bull by the horns".
Good luck to you. I hope you make your dream come true.