I purchased the Dark Sun campaign boxed set for AD&D 2nd Edition from eBay the other day. It's currently making it's way through the postal system to me. I remember making a character for Dark Sun back in the day when it first came out. I think many of us at the time were tired of the high fantasy, Tolkien-influenced D&D and wanted to try out this grim setting. I can only recall making a character for the game, a half-giant gladiator, but do not recall any specifics on any adventures. Whether that is a failing of my aging brain or the dubiousness of the quality of the adventure I do not know.
What got me interested in picking up the Dark Sun boxed set was influenced by watching DVDs of the cable series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand". It's an awesome series, with bloody combats, sex and political intrigue. There's a little too much "man-meat" bantied about for my taste, but it's equally countered by gratuitious boobies, so I can deal. I think it would be cool if a Dark Sun game could be ran in a similar fashion (sans nudity), with all the goings on, double-dealing and quests for power, money and fame.
If there is any setting that screams "Sword & Sorcery", Dark Sun is definitely it and I can see why it was so popular. I actually never owned the box set, so this will be a "new" acquisition. I did buy the 4E Dark Sun rulebook (when I was still playing 4E), and it was nicely done as far as production values and art are concerned, but I think it dropped the ball on how it dealt with Defiling magic. It was too softball and the mechanic they presented was weak. Defiling magic is supposed to have a hardcore effect on the environment. 4E's treatment was lame. I've since distanced myself from 4E as I'm just not interested in trying to keep up with the rules changes and making characters on software that I need to subscribe to. I'm going back to the older systems when things made sense.